Get my 5-day email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch

Want an email sales funnel that's already proven to work? Get the entire word-for-word email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch and apply it to your own business.

Yes! Send me the funnel now
Start Here: “The Ultimate Guide to Asking for a Raise and Negotiate Your Salary”

Instant irresistibility: How to make small talk and advanced social skills

665 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

How to Make Small Talk: a crash course on subtle social hacks and advanced techniques for improving your social skills.
7

I did not want to hit on this woman.

But my friend noticed her checking me out, so he glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. I looked at him, silently saying, “Really? Do I have to?” He just tilted his head and raised his eyebrows even higher. Nothing more needed to be said — every guy knows what that look means. We can’t back down from a challenge in front of our friends, so I sighed and walked over to her.

Keep in mind this woman was a lot older than me, not really my type, and I hate approaching at bars. But among men, pride comes first. Plus, she seemed nice.

Ramit: “Hi, I’m Ramit.”
Woman: “Hi, I’m (whatever).
Ramit: “You look like a vodka soda kind of girl” (I know, I know. I don’t know where this horrific line came from)
Woman: “NO!!”

I was a little surprised at how aggressively she said no, so I decided to have some fun.

Ramit: “Aw come on, I’ve been right 100/100 times for the last 5 years. How are you gonna break my streak like that?”
Woman: “I’m a recovering alcoholic.”

Teaches social skills. Hits on recovering alcoholic at bar.

Shortest bar conversation ever. Possibly the worst. But also hilarious.

On Friday, I asked you to talk to ONE random person and write down what happened. Over 800 of you left comments sharing your hilarious, inspiring, and sometimes horrific stories. If you’re on my email list, you got a special email with my 10 favorite comments yesterday.

How to make small talk and other advanced social skills

Today, I want to take you to the next level by giving you even more advanced material — plus another challenge.

Here’s what I created for you today:

  • “Small Talk” Hacks —  A 30-minute video crash course where I’ll show you subtle social hacks and advanced techniques for improving your social skills. I’ve never released this before.
  • New material on the invisible costs of having average social skills

Now let me show you what happens on the other end of the spectrum — when you eliminate catastrophes like me being forced to hit on a recovering alcoholic at a bar (??).

NEW: I got so many responses that I wrote a huge free guide on improving your social skills that goes into even more detail on the strategies described here.
Download “The Ultimate Guide to Social Skills: The Art of Talking to Anyone” now.


Instant Irresistibility: What “A+” social skills mean

I have a friend who’s an actress. We were talking about how she’d gone on a bunch of dates and the guys always fell in love with her. They had an instant rapport with her and felt the connection was incredibly deep after meeting her for an hour.

What they failed to understand was that she’s so socially skilled, she’s able to evoke this feeling of awe in most people she interacts with. She’s being totally transparent and ethical, but her social skills are so advanced that they bring out the best version of herself — making her almost irresistible.

In other words, having finely honed social skills is like taking a machine gun to a swordfight — FOR LIFE.

When you’re armed with amazing social skills, you can go to a party with no alcohol, only knowing 1 or 2 people… and still engage with ANYONE there. You can walk into an interview completely comfortable and nail tough question after tough question. You can contribute ideas in work meetings and know you’ll be taken seriously (and not talked over). When you walk into your boss’s office for a raise, you’re calm and confident instead of nervously wavering and turning into a puddle of goo. Improving your social skills can truly be your most valuable skill.

And that’s what social skills are: skills that can be systematically improved.

The compounding power of advanced social skills

I love hearing people complain, “Ugh, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know.” Then they sit back in their chairs, eat another donut, and never take the time to figure how out how to IMPROVE THEIR SOCIAL SKILLS AND MEET MORE INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE! You, my jackass friend, are a whiny loser who expects the world to work the way YOU want it to — instead of responding to the way it ACTUALLY works.

If you’re an IWT reader, you live in a world of what IS, not what SHOULD be.

That means recognizing these classic barriers people make about improving their social skills.

  • “Ugh, I don’t want to be one of those douchebags and start changing the way I dress and how I talk. They should like me for who I am.” Ironically, the people who use this excuse do not want to change, yet are often highly judgmental themselves.
  • “If I just work hard, they’ll recognize me.” This old chestnut has been said by many an Excel expert who sat in the corner, patiently creating pivot table after pivot table, only to see the loud/salesy guy get promoted, leading them to bitterly complain about “asshole marketing guys.” See Five Geek Social Fallacies. They never understand the game being played around them.
  • “I just need to get more experience before I (ask for a raise / ask for a promotion / try to get that Dream Job).” More experience might help, but as your career advances, improving your social skills is almost certainly worth more than technical talent alone.

The truth is, talent alone isn’t enough. It matters, but social skills become increasingly important — and sometimes are worth more than technical skills altogether! For example, I’ve hired people who weren’t the best at their technical skill…but they had excellent communication skills.

Elite college admission committees know this.

So does your boss.

Improving your social skills means being able to instantly “read” someone and communicate in the BEST possible way — including knowing how much detail to add, using amusing stories from your “Story Toolbox”, and comfortably sharing the very best version of yourself.

Ever notice a celebrity on The Daily Show or Conan? They don’t just come up with those stories on the fly. They’re tested, refined, and used only when they’re perfect. Much like Chris Rock practices his jokes until they’re flawless.

And as you get better at your social skills, you get more and more opportunities to practice them at higher and higher levels — getting invited to more social events, the pivotal conversation with your boss’s boss, the attractive guy you finally got the courage to talk to.

In other words, as your social skills improve, they get increasingly better, faster. They compound, making them one of your most powerful assets that can never be stripped away.

The invisible costs of poor social skills

But what happens if your social skills are just average?

Sometimes, it seems the people who don’t recognize the importance of social skills are the people who need it MOST:

She’ll never know what she missed.

How many of us go through this every day? The scary thing is, we’ll never know what we missed out on because of poor social skills. Those opportunities simply cease to exist.

For example…

  • We don’t talk to that girl at the bar, then kick ourselves later. Add this up over years and we end up getting our “second pick” of partners — not the ones we WANT, but the ones who are convenient or left over.
  • We stagnate in making new friends, since it’s hard to meet real friends after college. Especially if you’re not going out a lot.
  • We might be technically very skilled, but we bomb the interview, or get passed over for a promotion, or we’re not in the “inner circle” of people at work whom the boss favors.

There are even more haunting examples of the consequences of having mediocre social skills:

  • I have friends who thought earning enough would be enough to attract a partner. They’ve spent the last 5-10 years on their career, but never took the time to learn how to talk to men and women on a personal level. (A lot of Indian people are like this, actually.) Now what? They’ve got great jobs and lots of money in the bank, but they’re missing a core skill — and as a result, the pool of potential high-caliber partners is way smaller than for someone else.
  • One of my friends runs a successful tech company and was considering acquiring a small 1-man company. After a night of drinking, he asked me what I thought of the guy. He’s a good friend so I told him the brutal truth: I told him that the guy was way too cocky for his experience, I wouldn’t want him on my team, and I told him exactly why. My friend canceled the acquisition the next day. That guy will never know that his social skills cost him a 7-figure payday.

What do all these missed opportunities add up to over 10 years? 30 years?

If you learned even ONE technique to improve your social skills — something you can use every day while talking to co-workers, men, women, even random people on the street — what would that be worth?

Introducing My “Small Talk” Hacks Video

I created a new video for you, a 30-minute crash course on improving your social skills. I didn’t want to just offer you one or two random “tips.” I wanted to go deeper.

The video includes easy scripts for starting a conversation, keeping it going, and politely ending conversations (even with ramblers). I also included a live social-skills teardown about how to make small talk, plus the powerful concept of the Story Toolbox.

1:28   – Watch as I analyze my latest national TV appearance, beat-by-beat
4:07   – The social skills mistakes I used to make
5:44   – How do you start a conversation with a stranger?
8:20   – How do you keep the conversation going?
13:47 – How do you end a conversation politely?
16:57 – Your Story Toolbox: How can make yourself memorable?
20:50 – How do you make small talk?
25:03 – How to win an all-expenses paid trip to NYC for social-skills training (a $5,000 value)

TO DO TODAY

In the video at 16:57, I described the Story Toolbox, a Dream Job concept that lets you walk into any interaction — a job interview, bar, or cocktail party — and instantly have 5-10 stories to use at any given moment.

Top performers know that by having these stories ready to use — stories that consistently get positive reactions — they can instantly connect with anyone.

Today, I want you to start building your Story Toolbox.

Here’s your challenge:

  1. Brainstorm ONE engaging story (like my story about the recovering alcoholic at the bar), then test it on 1 person — a friend, family member, coworker, even a stranger.
  1. In the comments below, share the story (just an excerpt) and the reaction you got. It’s OK to get a negative reaction! Share whatever you find below.
  1. Let me share some of my other favorite life hacks with you — free. Sign up for my insider’s list below to get my life hacks — instantly.

Discover how to get people interested in you, plus other powerful life hacks.

 

7

Related Articles

standard post picture

How to not hate live events

I recently spoke at a conference in the Bay Area where the speaker introduced me as saying, “AND WE GOT ...

Read More
untitled-design-9

The diffusion of responsibility: Why you need to stop CC’ing people

I receive 1,000+ emails every day. And while I read every one of them, most emails get ignored. That’...

Read More

665 Comments

7
 

Leave a Reply

665 Comments on "Instant irresistibility: How to make small talk and advanced social skills"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Brian
Brian
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is knowing what to say. I wish rambling were my problem. Before I ever meet with someone new or someone who makes me nervous, I always have a mini-pep talk with myself, telling myself to try saying X, if not, try Y. I also daydream about how I want to sound and look. Then I wonder why can’t I just be natural like everyone else seems to be? For example, I went to an event a few months ago. I decided to summon my courage and strike up a conversation with… Read more »
RB
RB
3 years 8 months ago
Seeing superior social skills in action can be an awesome experience. Literally, as in you can be awestruck. In sixth grade I had a classmate who was wildly popular and seemed (to me) to fun with a fast crowd. She was completely on the opposite corner of the classroom (she sat front right, I sat back left) and I never had an opportunity to talk with her that year (besides I couldn’t imagine we had anything in common), so I didn’t actually know her at all. Then I moved away but returned to the town occasionally as I still had… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness: Liking my own company too much. Often I’m happy being by myself, so don’t bother to start talking to people and then when I feel like talking to some one, I’ve made no connections so there is no one to talk to. When I’m telling stories, I nearly always end up telling stories about other people as I’ve had too many negative reactions when talking about things I’ve done (really mostly maths, I at least have enough sense not to talk about coding). Was talking to a friend of friend who was the liberal arts going to work… Read more »
Theodore Glave
Theodore Glave
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest issue lately is seeming like a ‘know it all.’ When I was in college, I never got a chance to read things I was really interested in because I was always so busy (invisible script…I know better now). But since, I started working I’ve really been engaging in more of my interests and reading widely and a lot more. The down side of that has been that a lot of my conversations now start with, “well this one book I was reading talks about that…” Or, this blog IWT, I’ve been reading it a lot lately it talks… Read more »
Christian K.N.
Christian K.N.
3 years 8 months ago
I do this too. It seems to help, however, if I don’t always back up my statements with sources. People’s eyes will glaze over if I say, “Ramit Sethi makes a point in his book, that a, b and c.”, but if I just pass a, b and c as facts they’ll listen intently. The same goes for advice; in smalltalk, people will only listen if it comes from me, not from some book I’ve read. It probably has to do with the confidence of taking ownership of what I say, and realizing that smalltalk is all about form, not… Read more »
Colleen
3 years 8 months ago

I have this same problem– I like Christian’s response. I’m going to give it a try. I get so excited about the stuff I’m learning that I love to share it with people who show interest….I’m always backing it up with the source. I didn’t realize that it comes across as not having confidence….but that completely makes sense because I’m actually naming the source so I *don’t* appear to be a ‘know-it-all’….hmmm

Sunny
Sunny
3 years 8 months ago
I know that my biggest weakness in my social skills is not what I have to say, but my self-confidence about myself, which is basically the invisible scripts that I tell myself about how I am incompetent and why I couldn’t get the other person to be interested in what I have to say. Conversation, while having these invisible scripts has produce many many awkward moments in my life and thinking about them still gives me that sick feeling in the stomach. After watching the video from this post, I can actually get answers to why some of my social… Read more »
Jeff
Jeff
3 years 8 months ago
One thing I have difficulty doing is telling stories without sounding like Hansel from Zoolander “So there I am, rappelling down Mt Vesuvius…” I’m blessed to have had some great experiences in my life but I don’t want to come across as someone who brags about their exploits. I hate that guy. I’m not that guy. So rather then risk coming across as “full of himself,” I can overcompensate and end up acting quite sheepish. I only tell stories in context of course, but if someone is say, sharing a travelling story I’m conscious about “one-upping” that person and try… Read more »
Kim
Kim
3 years 8 months ago
I am one of those passive people that leans on the other person to carry the conversation. In the last year, I’ve really worked on starting conversations and I can now fairly easily start a conversation. Maintaining it is a completely different story. Ramit, you would be screaming at me like you do that people in the coffee shop. They end up going something like this: Me: “Hi, I’m Kim. Nice to meet you.” John: “Hi, I’m John.” Me: “So are you here for the XXXXX conference?” (Stupid question as that’s the only reason to be at the mixer.) John:… Read more »
Sophie
Sophie
3 years 8 months ago

Great post, but…what is a recovering alcoholic doing in a bar?!!

abraham
abraham
3 years 8 months ago

God forbid that a recovering alcoholic hang out where everyone else is!

Joe
3 years 8 months ago

She’s probably trying to meet people and improve her social skills. Or she’s trying to meet cool guys like Ramit.

william
william
3 years 8 months ago

Dancing thats what I do. I dont drink I drive. Am I being a know it all? lol

Jason
Jason
3 years 8 months ago

K, recovering alcoholic in a bar for social reasons, I can buy that… but if you’re in control enough to be at a bar, be in control enough to be cool about it when someone brings up alcohol at an effing bar. How about “no thanks, I don’t drink”?

She needs to work on her small talk skills.

Christian
Christian
1 year 2 months ago

Ramit I think she was trying to have fun with you and took it seriously! 😀

Lisa
Lisa
3 years 8 months ago
It is hard to pinpoint my biggest flaw. Not because I don’t have one but because on any given day in any given situation it may change. I have had days where I can walk into a party alone where I sort of know the host, and be a hit and make a bunch of new friends. I leave feeling confident and fun, feeling like I gained a new experience. I have been invited to trips to Oregon, Belize, Texas and Colorado from this openness. But other times I can even be out with a group of 20 friends who… Read more »
Jenny D
Jenny D
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social skill weakness is being passive. I tend to get stuck talking to time-monopolizers and miss out on talking to other people I really want to meet. When I do find myself chatting with an interesting person, I’m very bad at redirecting the conversation with my own questions and comments –and the more I like the person I’m talking to, the less inclined I am to steer the conversation, out of (irrational) fear that I’ll come off as uninterested in what the person is saying, or that I’ll interfere with the next thing that person might want to… Read more »
Nathan Straathof
Nathan Straathof
3 years 8 months ago

My Biggest Social Weakness: Reading the person I am conversing with. I’m struggling to know if they enjoy the topic we are discussing, or if they are wishing to change topics. For example, I’ll continue to ask follow up questions, they’ll continue to answer my questions, but nothing more. So it’s like I’m pulling teeth. Are they wishing I’d stop or are they just super terrible at having a conversation?

Jean-Michel
Jean-Michel
3 years 8 months ago

I’ve got a lot of weaknesses socially but I think the biggest is carrying a conversation. When I do get the courage up to try and start a conversation with a stranger the conversation just dies. There are times when I have great conversations (at least what i perceive to be great conversations) with people but I think that’s more because they carry the conversation.

For example, I was at a bar a few weeks ago for a meet and greet being put together by my favorite podcast. I spent most of the night sitting in the corner with my wife.

Jean-Michel
Jean-Michel
3 years 8 months ago

My phone screwed up and published my comment before I was done so I will just continue here.

When I did get up to talk to the guys from the podcast or had other fans try to make small talk with me it usually didn’t get much past “How did you find out about the show?”. Lots of awkward silences and me running back to me seat with me wife.

I’m ok trying to get out of my comfort zone I just don’t know really what to talk about.

Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago
Without realising it I appear to have some of these canned anecdotes in my arsenal already. I trot them out sometimes when meeting new people. I hadn’t really considered this before. I will for the purposes of this, test one an report back though. Thinking about it my stories are almost always humorous and poke fun at either myself or a colleague/friend. I wonder how I am perceived when I make myself a figure of fun? I’m not sure if it is positive in a business environment or not. I will have to research this. Anyone have any thoughts? Here’s… Read more »
Matthew Block
Matthew Block
3 years 8 months ago

Biggest weakness: starting a conversation with someone I’ve never met. If I’ve got an introduction, everything’s great. But but if it’s someone new entirely, it still just feels like a huge undertaking and it’s hard to build up the steam to make that leap.
You’ve given some tools for pushing past that, and each one gets easier. It’s still a tough emotional barrier to get over though.

Chris
Chris
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit! At 15:53 – 16:49 in the video you described my friend perfectly! I died laughing! The last time my friend rambled on like that he was letting his car warm up before heading home from my place. He asked to smoke a cigarette while he waited. I said sure and told him I needed to take a quick shower since I had work in the morning. I turn on my shower, left it running to get some clothes, and on my way back he stops me. For over 30 minutes he tells me a story WHILE MY SHOWER WAS… Read more »
paul mcneill
paul mcneill
3 years 8 months ago

Biggest challenge is keeping the small talk engaging & not rambling. Enjoy the fact that you have a nuts and bolts approach and not “psychodribble”-you get it done.

Mala
Mala
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is that I talk too little when I am meeting people for the first time because I am overly self-conscious of how others will judge me by what I say. I mostly worry that I won’t live up to my credentials (i.e. people will think I sound stupid for how smart I’m “supposed” to be), even in social settings. So I say nothing. I think this gives the impression that I am arrogant and stand-offish. Also, saying nothing makes it impossible to bond with people. Later, I notice that people who… Read more »
Sylvia
Sylvia
3 years 8 months ago
I’m in the midst of transitioning from engineering to my dream job, a career in music performance—a field in which networking and reaching out to people (audiences, potential colleagues, potential donors, audition committees…) is especially key to “making it.” I tend to talk too fast and sometimes struggle to find the right words and keep a sense of the arc of what I’m saying; I was part of a toastmasters club at my old job which helped me to sometimes catch myself speeding and take more time, and to get better at stamping out the dreaded crutch words (um, etc),… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago

I haven’t been able to watch the video yet so I imagine this comes up, but to quote a famous Irish comedian “it’s the way you them!” that engages people. the story itself can be secondary sometimes.

Drasko
3 years 8 months ago
For a long time I’ve had a lot of limiting beliefs surrounding being liked, avoiding conflict, and in general being sensitive about what people think of me as I’m talking to them. Though this was a hindrance in many ways it did leave me with one good thing: I was constantly calibrating my conversations by gauging people’s reaction to whatever I said (much like Ramit suggested) in an effort to ensure people liked me. This made me really good at making people comfortable enough to talk about themselves and share many things with me but at the end of conversations… Read more »
Amanda Dunning
Amanda Dunning
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I wanted to thank you again for this series, it has been such an eye opener for me to realize that I can develop my social skills and I’m not stuck being a shy wallflower for the rest of my life. My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills would have to be the anxiety that just the thought of talking to a stranger brings on, I’m constantly worried that I’m not good enough, that I won’t say the “right things”, or that the person will just think I’m an idiot who rambles on and on about… Read more »
jolena
jolena
3 years 8 months ago
Phew! First off I’m a little nervous about posting a comment right now but I’ll give it a shot (this is RAMIT he might even be able to help me) I think my weaknesses in the social arena come from not not knowing what others think of me. I take voice or speaking classes where everyone is making comments left and right about each other’s performances but when I do my thing-it seems like there are suddenly crickets… I don’t know if it’s good bad or ugly. I wanna do small talk but I don’t want to be like the… Read more »
Lisset
Lisset
3 years 8 months ago
Sunday morning I was out showing a couple of houses to a first time homebuyer. I will add this is my second time showing houses. The gentleman started concersating with me about where he is from and telling me a story about one of his friends who has owned a few houses because he is a player and keeps on getting divorced and remarried. Not sure what he was trying to say with the story, I continued walking him around the house. He asked me personal questions. was I married and how many children I had and where I was… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 8 months ago
I vividly recall a high school party (some 20 years ago!) when I felt a bit insecure. I was around some girls that I considered to be “out of my league.” I somehow gained a foothold in the conversation and told a story. While telling the story, I relaxed and noticed, as you mentioned, what seemed to “hit” and what didn’t. At the conclusion of my story, the cutest girl there gave me a huge smile and said, “I love talking to you! You’re a great storyteller.” And THAT’S where my problem actually started. I let that one statement from… Read more »
Anne
Anne
3 years 8 months ago

I am right with you Kevin (except for the cute girl complimenting bit). ^_^ I think I do too much to set my stories up but I doubt that covers all the reasons my stories tend to go on for too long. Still, it is so difficult for me to not “set the scene” even when someone (like my husband) point blank asks me to get to the point. “But it’s so much funnier if you’d let me describe where we were!” I’ll reply.

jolena
jolena
3 years 8 months ago

Oh yeah great sari..or is it a toga when worn by a man?

Tristan Davies
Tristan Davies
3 years 8 months ago
I’m not sure if this stems from my childhood and my parents telling me that its rude to talk about yourself too much but my biggest social weakness is not knowing how to talk about myself and being able to direct the conversation. Specifically when a conversation is starting (usually this happens with people I already know but is not exempt from this). For example, after being greeted, if someone doesn’t ask me a direct question and asks me a more vague question like, “whats new?” I never know what to say and answer in something like “nothing exciting” because… Read more »
Matt
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Exceptional video and many thanks for putting this video together! For someone as myself who struggles to stay in tune with my social skills, the biggest obstacle is keeping the conversation going and taking control. For example, I recently met up with an old friend who I haven’t spoke to in some time and to make the experience tougher, this friend was a woman. I really wanted to impress her, but found myself nervous and random thoughts running through my head. I had a tough time coming up with new material to talk about and keeping things fresh.… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I LOVE your blog post on social skills and wanted to share a story of social interaction gone horribly wrong. Like your recent encounter flirting with that woman, it happened in a bar. As a background, I work for a global company that’s a household name. People love our products so much that we actually have a huge problem with counterfeiters. My supervisor catches these people, and he’s good chums with NYPD and Federal Agents whose job is bringing these people in. We lose a fortune to forgery and theft. So I’m at the bar meeting people and this… Read more »
Teddy
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest problem is deciding what to not include in my stories. They go on too long but more importantly, they aren’t paced properly because I ruin the beginning-middle-end arc with relevant bits of story that don’t fit AT ALL. One example, I was in west Africa for a photo project on motorcycles used for healthcare and had a crazy experience trying to get home involving ATMs being out of money, the president chartering the plane I was supposed to be on, black market currency exchange, a 12 hour cab ride through the night, and a federal holiday prohibiting driving,… Read more »
Mel
Mel
3 years 8 months ago

Dang, Teddy, you’ve got my interest piqued! That sounds like an amazing story, possibly a potential guest post on a travel blog.

Lauren K.
Lauren K.
3 years 8 months ago

I agree! Maybe laying out that story outline is a good tool?

Breanna
3 years 8 months ago
One of my go-to stories (especially in groups of people I don’t know all that well) is the one about how I was blind for a month and a half. ( I know, I know, it seems weird–“So, you just tell a bunch of people that you were blind for a month and a half? How is that EVER relevant?”–but here’s the thing, it always garners some kind of response. One of the most typical instant responses is sympathy, of course, because most people can relate to health issues and most people also hold their eyesight in pretty high esteem.… Read more »
Breanna
3 years 8 months ago
I take some of that back. Thinking on it again, I’m only “decently ace” in these sorts of network-y situations. I can fake it til I make it and even manage to make real connections in these situations, which is great. But sometimes, one-on-one, I run into problems. For instance, I’m pretty great at recognizing when a story I thought was going to be good ends up going nowhere–and I’ll call myself on it, and that usually gets laughs. But there are other situations that freeze me up, too. For some reason, I just can’t deal with questions like “How’s… Read more »
Andrew K
Andrew K
3 years 8 months ago

Breanna, I feel the exact same way. If I’m in a good mood I’m super extroverted and can talk to anyone and make jokes and connect with people. If not, I just want to be left alone, content to observe but not in control of the situation. It’s something that I’m looking to improve.

It would be ace to be an extrovert in any mood which is something I’d like to accomplish.

Jillian
Jillian
3 years 8 months ago

I have the same trouble with overanalysing those questions, they used to immediately put me on the defensive – “why do you want to know?” until Ramit educated me on the importance of small talk.

“What brought you here?” is a particularly bad one for me, I have to really bite my tongue not to reply “I drove, my car is in the parking lot out there.”

Scott
1 year 2 months ago
Similar on my end as well Breanna. Working on improving social interactions when not feeling on point. Additionally, working on not being too reserved, self doubt/ over thinking etc. and developing more tact in dealing with the occasional Dbag. In the spirit of not being too reserved, I’ll share some personal observations around the oh so common question you referenced: How are you? I’ve tested this multiple times (I get asked this at-least 20 plus x a day working with the public and in sales) and the best interactions have usually come from something along the lines of a short… Read more »
Chris
3 years 8 months ago

Hey Ramit,

Just wanted to drop a quick comment after watching the vid,
Really helpful, hits on some really great points.
‘What brought you here’ was a nice, very underused (as you said) opener, appreciated that one! I’ll get working on my story toolbox, its been something I’ve been meaning to do but this lil vid was just the right amount to spur it on and get the ToDo item scheduled!

Cheers,

Chris

Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago

Actually I agree with Breanna, I’m pretty good when I’m in the mood. There are sometimes when I just can’t be bothered and people watch.

Brian Baute
3 years 8 months ago

Great post. Thanks, Ramit.

My biggest challenge is to become both smoother & more concise in my deliver, especially on complex topics. For example, I often find myself pausing to think about how I want to word something, and either closing my eyes or looking at the ceiling while I do so. It’s like a series of small seizures where I look like I’m catatonic for 5-10 seconds at a time. Then, because my internal clock has kind of reset during that thought process, I find myself going on too long. I need to develop a more concise, less awkward delivery.

Tyler Nielsen
Tyler Nielsen
3 years 8 months ago
I find myself knowing what to say, how to say it, but when the time comes (work and personal situations) I find myself backing away from the comment or point I was going to make. For instance, I usually do not talk myself up too much at work (which I am finding accounts for my lack of satisfaction with my job) but when I am in a meeting I find myself holding back. During post meeting briefings, I make a few comments on how the meeting went and I have had the recurring feedback of, “Why didn’y you share that… Read more »
Jasmine
3 years 8 months ago
Reply for Tyler – It may be a case of you being an introvert. This is not a bad thing, just a difference in two major areas – where you gain energy from, and how/when you process information. Introverts have a tendency to take more time formulating ideas closer to actual finished project before sharing while extroverts have a tendency of verbally processing ideas as soon the ideas pop in their heads. Something an introverted friend of mine uses is she’ll tell people in the meeting that she’s chewing on it still and will respond later. Then when she, like… Read more »
Caitlin
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest issue is that I was a hugely awkward weirdo in my youth, like you, Ramit! This is an issue because even though I am way more adept and socially skilled now, sometimes that middle school aged weirdo comes out, especially around someone I admire. It’s like this cool kid vs. nerd mentality all over again and I feel like I ramble and stumble on my words…even though, at other times, I am articulate and amusing. What gives? On the subject of stories…I have a refined story I break out when in late-night company, unless I’m in an unusually… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is being overly sensitive to (or lack an ability to interpret) others body language. I am very observant of how others are reacting to what ever I may be talking about. For instance I am often approached by those that know my background about the latest in phone technologies. If I get a blank stare as I’m speaking toward the points I feel are important, then I tend to truncate the conversation. However, if I get a look of focus and attention I will ramble until it appears there sign of… Read more »
Angie
Angie
3 years 8 months ago
Under ordinary circumstances, I am far too passive in conversation and don’t ask enough questions. Chris obviously is friends with my boss, who will walk roughshod over any attempts at two-way communication, interrupt, and monopolize if at all possible. Lately, though, he has treated my sentences like minefields. Last week, he was monologuing on hair loss which, in reality, was unnoticeable. I responded ” Every time I pass the back of your head, I have to resist the urge to turn it like a doorknob, you’re so slick back there”. The look of shock on his face was priceless, as… Read more »
Gina
Gina
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I think I have 2 ‘fun-killing’ social skills. I sometimes tell boring stories about things I’m interested in, and my timing sucks. Example: I have the day off, but this morning as my housemate was getting ready to head off to work, I felt compelled to tell her about a book review on an anthropologist who compares our modern morays with that of primitive tribes. Predictable reaction: Uh, yeah (looking around for the coffee). Uh, well, I have gotten better at recognizing a dud and just leaving it behind without trying to breathe new life into it. But, really.… Read more »
Tara
3 years 8 months ago
Hello Ramit! You’re video couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I just finished recording my first video for a new series on my site, and…it was awkward. My weakness (and it’s not just when talking about business, it happens in social settings as well) is that I BLUSH. I know, it sounds adorable, but it’s totally not. My bright-white face turns crimson at the very thought of more than one face looking at me. It’s not shyness, really, and it’s not always fear…it’s just..biology maybe? It’s like my face can feel any extra pairs of eyes and turns… Read more »
MD
MD
3 years 8 months ago
Tara, It’s not hopeless! I had (sometimes still do) the same problem – I get super red in brand new social interactions. When I was a TA and talked in front of 20-30 students, I didn’t think I knew what I was talking about and turned red and stammered. The more I taught, the more I knew what I was teaching about, and my job went from ‘talking in front of a bunch of people’ to teaching need-to-know-things to people that cared (otherwise they wouldn’t have shown up), and I didn’t get embarrassed or more importantly, turn red. I also… Read more »
Alice
Alice
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Tara, I can totally relate. As a pale redhead I can turn pink & blotchy in a heartbeat. What has worked for me recently, though, is actually calling attention to it myself – something like “You’ll have to forgive my freakishly pink face, one of the many curses of us natural gingers. It happens every time I’m – insert adjective here” You can lie on the adjective & even make it ridiculous – wildly entertained by tall, dark strangers, etc. I tend to be the big elephant announcer in just about any room. In my experience, when you acknowledge… Read more »
JP
JP
3 years 8 months ago

i had the same problem, and then a few years ago my dr recommended propranolol to deal with the physiological surge of adrenaline before public speaking situations.

it has changed everything– i’m now a consultant and give presentations to full amphitheaters at corporate clients around the world. my biggest fear now is forgetting the propranolol!

Elizabeth
3 years 8 months ago

Dear Ramit:
I have been following your blog since October and find it delightful. Here is a tip from an older woman (yes you have older women fans). If you or your male friends want to meet really nice girls learn how to ride a horse (if you don’t know already). It shows class. Women who ride (dressage, hunter/jumper, or western) are bright, confident, and in good shape. It takes a lot of smarts to be able to handle a 1300 pound animal with a flick of a finger.

Kaylee
3 years 8 months ago

For some reason I feel like you’re not talking about horses in that last sentence…

Eliza
Eliza
3 years 8 months ago

Wait… Whaaat?

You may want to add to this conversation… http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/dp35l/reddit_what_are_some_of_your_relatively_unique/

Back to the topic at hand – SOCIAL SKILLS … Ramit, you’re inside my head this year. You’re solving all my problems. You, Neil Strauss & Reddit. All the game-bashing is lame. With the right attitude, learning about inner game is valuable for everyone – women included. It’s not the manipulation, its the underlying self-talk & psychology that’s incredibly valuable.

Jared
Jared
3 years 8 months ago

I struggle with having the same conversation over and over and over…

I am a 2nd Generation owner of a family business. My office has 20 employees and many of them only have high school degrees.

My struggle is with having the same conversation with 20 different people. I try varying my small talk but the biggest challenge is relating to them. I do not have the same problems/interests that my employees do. EVERYTHING I find funny is met with Crickets and vice versa. I have absolutely perfected my “fake laugh”.

ashish
ashish
3 years 8 months ago

hi
i am 22 yrs old..the problem with me is that when i try talking to stranger girls before that i get nervous, my body temperature increases and i cant talk to them…a lot of girls notice me but i never collect the courage to go and say hello…i know i look good and my english is also okay but i never feel comfortable enough to say anything in english…almost everytime i use hindi for giving an order or talking to customer care….can you suggest any solution…?

and yes your book is great, i am thinking about getting my own credit card..:)

Cliff Samuels Jr
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is situational speaking confidence. When I am in a situation that I fell comfortable in (around other geeks or IT professional) I can strike up a conversations at will. Now place me in an environment that is more socialites or considered high society, I can fell like pepper in a sugar bowl. I am use to the fact that in many of my social outing I will be the only person of color in the crowd but I still have trouble breaking my limiting belief that when I am in the presence of the true movers and… Read more »
Martha
Martha
3 years 8 months ago
Extricating myself from a rambler is my greatest challenge. I was raised to be “polite” but the rambler is the being impolite by monopolizing the conversation with something I’m not interested in, or have lost interest in. But sometimes, it’s a safety net, because as long as one person is boring me, I don’t have to strike up a conversation with someone else. At a housewarming on Saturday, one conversation had worn itself out, but I still hung onto it until I saw someone else I could easily start talking with, as they were just ending a conversation. Playing it… Read more »
Mark
Mark
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in social situations is making sweeping generalisations in what I think is a comedic way – for instance I’ll be talking about cities in the UK, and always end up saying “but no-one cares about Birmingham.” Naturally there’ll be someone from Birmingham there and I’ll have to indulge in some furious back-pedalling to try and regain some of my poise. Unfortunately as a way of trying to avoid doing this, instead of deprecating of someone’s home town, sports team or suchlike, I end up being self-deprecating and presenting myself as no more than an amiable buffoon. Granted,… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago

Mark, I think self depracation is a very British trait. We do it to ourselves and our friends. Do people in other countries say something like “This is my best mate Andrew. He’s a complete nobhead” about someone you really like?

Jess H.
Jess H.
3 years 8 months ago
One of my social weaknesses is that I’m not good at planning to be funny. I can be quite improvisationally funny – but when I try to tell a “canned” funny story, it rarely goes well. I decided to use this challenge to change that. I’m about to go on a major work trip, so I picked a travel story; it’s a topic I expect to come up a lot in the next couple of weeks. That means I will get to test it in fairly realistic situations. The story is about trying to rent an apartment overseas, only to… Read more »
MD
MD
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for the video! I’m looking forward to developing a few more stories. I have two problems — dealing with conversation monopolists (which may be fixed after your suggestions here — I need to test it) and making myself more interesting. I get supremely irritated with people that tell crappy stories and instead of bowing out of the conversation gracefully, I continue to be trapped listening to them because they don’t stop talking. I’ll test out the “pleasure talking to you!” for that. My worst problem is telling interesting stories about myself or otherwise being interesting to people I don’t… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
3 years 8 months ago

Its a tie… I have the attention span of a gnat and I will try to remember what I am going to say and get so involved in what is next I’ll either forget what the conversation is about, or ill interrupt him/her and seem pushy. I also like being the center of attention. I will do all this work to make people laugh and being energetic. I often don’t know when to shut up.

Victor
Victor
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Great post. While in my twenties I worked as a nurse. My challenge while in nursing school was how to convince a female to allow a 6’3″ 210# male nursing student to insert a cathether/suppository/or some medical device into her (imagine any orfice you want). I knew I had to establish a rapport fast with my patients in order to put both of us at ease, and for me to provide compassionate care to the patient. To overcome the obstacle (however real or perceived I made it out to be) I would take a minute to glance at the… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is in the place where small talk moves into trust building. I can meet people at an event or on a date. I can have the 10 minute, 30 minute, hour long conversations. I can chat with strangers. What I have a really hard time doing is converting these strangers from acquaintances to friends. This has been especially problematic at work. I come off as smart and friendly at first but somewhere that connection breaks and I am seen as weird and snobby. A good example of when this falls apart was at my last contracting… Read more »
Mr. Everyday Dollar
3 years 8 months ago
Great post! “If I just work hard, they’ll recognize me.” was one of my shortcomings during the early part of my career. I was oblivious to the fact a game was being played all around me; and I wasn’t even suited up for it! Something I wish I would have discovered earlier but I’m glad I’ve cleared it up. Approaching strangers and starting conversations is the same stuff the PUA community is all about. It’s really about getting out of your comfort zone. And while some will say PUA’s are simply geeks with techniques with the negs, card tricks and… Read more »
Mike
Mike
3 years 8 months ago
Great post and video! I feel like I’ve been guilty of every weakness you described at one time or another, but my worst one is the conversation killer you demonstrated with the student at about the 20-minute mark. Someone will ask me a question like, “What do you do?” or “How long have you been doing that?” and I’ll respond just like he did, and BOOM, it’s like a lead weight landed on the conversation. Sometimes, they’re polite and say it was nice talking with you, and sometimes I get hit with the box-out (a third party comes over, they… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for providing that great video – I got many good ideas that I am looking forward to begin trying this week. I have a few issues that I struggle with. I feel pretty comfortable walking up to strangers and starting conversations. I can ask initial questions and then respond with meaningful follow-ups. My first challenge then comes with taking it to a more personal level. I don’t feel like I’m a good story teller and I don’t like to share personal things about me – part of it is that I don’t think I’m that interesting and part is… Read more »
Lorenz Sell
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I get anxious and lose confidence. As a result, I become kind of withdrawn, I don’t get expressive, and I have a hard time telling stories. When I do tell a story, I lack confidence and have a hard time keeping it interesting. If I talk to anyone important, it gets even worse. I’ve noticed that it’s more like a type of performance anxiety. When I’m with really close friends and not being self-conscious, I open up, I talk freely, I get expressive, and I tell good stories. To counter it I try deep breathing… Read more »
Katy
3 years 8 months ago
Ramito, This sounds lame, but I actually have that ability to connect with people to where they fall in love and won’t leave me alone. My friends give me so much shit for it. I’m that friend they don’t want to introduce to their significant other too soon, because they might fall for me too. There’s a story they love to tell where we were all down at the Jersey shore and going to one of those obnoxious Jersey shore bars. I was walking in the door, tripped and dropped everything, almost wiping out. They said every guy was on… Read more »
Collin
Collin
3 years 8 months ago
In social situations I tend to tailor my message, stories, jokes, questions to the audience. My biggest weakness is in a group of all new people – for some reason my brain tries to calculate the overlapping interests of each individual so that what I say will be relevant/funny/memorable/inoffensive to everyone. Of course, not knowing anyone’s interests yet means I often start by listening (which makes me come off as quiet). So my biggest weakness can be put into the question, “How can I be more socially proactive in a group of new people, or even better, how can I… Read more »
Christian K.N.
Christian K.N.
3 years 8 months ago
I, too, need to learn how to approach groups of people. Especially in the second or third day of an event, when most people seem to have found their cliques. (One tactic I’ve used is to avoid the problem by showing up before everyone else, so I’m there when small groups form. Then I meet people in those groups who can later introduce me to other groups later. But that’s not always doable.) Also, a variant of the same: At events like seminars and conferences, how do I get a word with the speaker/host afterward, when s/he’s surrounded by all… Read more »
Leslie
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for another very informative lesson! I used to be really shy and quiet and was very awkward when it came to conversing with new people or people I don’t know very well. I’ve really grown over the years and don’t have much trouble talking to random people in a social setting. However, I think I am so anxious because of how shy I used to be and so afraid of awkward silences, that I tend to talk and talk and talk about anything and nothing to the point that I may overwhelm people and just make myself look silly.… Read more »
Mary
Mary
3 years 8 months ago
I’m a field biologist and like Teddy there are tons of funny things that have happened whilst working in the jungle or the tundra, probably comparable to his experiences in West Africa. However, usually the anecdotes work best by keeping them short and that can be challenging indeed. Still, I think it’s possible to distill it down to the funny parts (even though for me the whole experience was interesting of course). Also, not all of them are appropriate for for example job interviews. Like the one when my 10 year younger field assistant started to hit on me while… Read more »
mian
mian
3 years 8 months ago

nice post ramit,
i feel you have a new course coming soon 🙂

looks like you have been studying a lot of pua and want to introduce this to your audience with your own twist.

Rusty Kucher
Rusty Kucher
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Thanks for the post, very insightful and eye opening. My biggest social weakness is using fillers such as ‘umm’ and ‘like’. This drives my wife crazy and has become one of her pet peeves. I have noticed that I do it all the time. Whether boring my wife with details about the corporate world or providing my supervisor with an update on my project status. I’ve tried recording myself and noticed that I do not do it on camera, but then I am also more awkward when I intentionally try not to use fillers. I think I use them… Read more »
Steve
Steve
3 years 8 months ago
A major weakness to my social skill set, that I have only recently discovered, is my tendency to speak in a low monotone voice. My entire life I have always had the perception (false perception) that to stay calm and non-reactive to any situation is a major plus. It wasn’t until recently that I have realized this is a negative because I lack the ability to show emotion. Two great examples: 1.) At my office they needed a voice over for a health campaign in which they show grotesque images to scare people away from using a certain product. The… Read more »
Alice
Alice
3 years 8 months ago
I talked to a co-worker this morning about my ongoing battle with small woodland creatures. I’m a city-slicker now working in the nature-loving south, so this tends to work pretty well in this area. I just need a bird flying around somewhere, Hitchcock/horror movie mention, or nature reference to get started. This morning, my coworker & I met for coffee. Birds wandering around the street in the unseasonably warm weather, so I told her the very real story of how I had pigeons fly directly into my head on no less than 3 separate occasions while living in New York… Read more »
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit: I may be older than your typical reader, but I have a great appreciation for educated people and their advice. Your blog and writings are very smart and timely for today’s work environment and job seekers. I wish there had been someone like you providing this information when I graduated from college. PS. My suggestion of learning to ride was meant to be in good fun. It is also another way to network with senior level people in companies. You would be surprised to know how many corporate folks are at a barn not only for themselves but also… Read more »
Austin
Austin
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness is sober interaction. Luckily I am rarely sober.

Tom
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Great video and a great opportunity for everyone. My main social hang up would have to be consistency. Some times I can be on top of my game. Whether it’s befriending every one at a party, being able to charm the most beautiful girl in the room or closing a business deal. The frustrating thing is that my less confident past will still rear it’s head from time to time, which is a massive pain. I’m desperate for a way to finally let go of these social vices, despite them making me the guy I am today. A… Read more »
Claire
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for the great video. It made me think a lot about my social strengths and weaknesses. My biggest challenge in social or networking situations is storytelling. I compensate for this by being a great listener and finding ways keep the conversation going by encouraging the other person to talk more. I’m a pro at asking relevant questions that flatter people and get them to open up or embellish. But when it comes my turn to talk, I rarely contribute anything memorable about myself. I know how to make people feel interesting, but I don’t know to be interesting in… Read more »
Justine
Justine
3 years 8 months ago

I told one of my friends about how I had to explain to my British boss that saying he wanted to go to a swingers club with his wife didn’t exactly mean what he thought it meant. Friend laughed. I’ve shared this with non-uptight coworkers and they loved it as well. Have to admit it took a couple of tries “testing” out the words to make it funny but not over the top.

Athena
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness: Not being able to say my point in short amount of time. When: The situation can be social or professional. What happens: I start to talk, thinking ALL the details are important, but they are not. The people that know me the best are willing to go for the ride, they stay engaged or just calmly watch, maybe they are thinking of their grocery list, but I can’t tell. The folks that don’t know me, those faces changes are a lot clearer to me, I can see them drift from interested to what is this girl trying to… Read more »
Rich
Rich
3 years 8 months ago
The bait was too good. I’m de-lurking for this post. So, here’s a comment in two parts, first the *hopefully* engaging story, then my biggest weakness when it comes to social skills. I was a physics major in college, and attended an internship at Los Alamos National Lab. Myself and a few other interns all went on a 2 day hike and got lost. Long story short, we ran out of water, had to climb out of a canyon, guess at our way back, and call the park rangers for help, since a couple people got too dehydrated to make… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 8 months ago
I think my biggest problem is engaging in small talk. I’m more to-the-point and never liked the “how are you” greeting because, as you say, it’s a script and knowing that makes it seem insincere to me. But from what you’re saying, it sounds like that it’s just part of the game and I need to start playing. Just the other night at a party, this nice girl was giving me the usual small talk questions, asking me what I do and where I went to school, trying to get to know me and strike up a conversation. But, me… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 8 months ago

Oh I also tend not to make eye contact when talking to someone. I do it when listening, but I feel like I’m looking all over the place while talking. I’m not sure how important it is, but I notice most people tend to keep eye contact while talking to me.

Theodore Glave
Theodore Glave
3 years 8 months ago
The story I go to pretty often is about wearing just a t shirt in the dead of winter during my freshman year of college (upstate NY). I’m Jamaican and the sun was shining and where I’m from if the sun is out it means warm weather. It’s always a good little story when cultural differences, or misconceptions come up, almost anything since it’s basically a how was the weather where you went to school story. Most recently, I wrapped it in with a conversation about hockey with a visiting customer I was giving a tour to. My college has… Read more »
ami
ami
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in social situations is that I tend to giggle/laugh in a conversation even when something isn’t necessarily all that funny. I’ll use it as a way to fill silence and/or buy myself more time while I think of the next thing to say during an awkward pause. I also think I heard somewhere a long time ago that people like other people who respond positively to the things they say by laughing and smiling. Unfortunately for me, that doesn’t mean laughing at everything. I realized how counterproductive it was when I was in high school, and I… Read more »
Jillian
Jillian
3 years 8 months ago

Hyena machine gun is hilarious. You’ve got to find a way to use that line in everyday conversation!

Chris Reed
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social stumbling block is reading people and gauging the subtext of peoples reactions. For example, I have desk space at a clients office and a second client on the floor above. I have keys to the building so if I was meeting either client I would just let my self into the building. The up stairs client said something about me sneaking up on people, and I wrote it off as just a strang thing to say. The next time I met him I noticed he said the same thing. For our last meeting, I buzzed his office… Read more »
David
David
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit! I think my biggest weakness is the small talk and leading the conversation. I don’t think I can lead the conversation in a way to give the message I want to give. Lately I have gotten a few different interviews for jobs closer to what I consider a ‘dream job’. I feel like I have a great set of skills when I am able to be all technical and talk engineering… But that hasn’t seemed to matter. It has happened more than once when I got feedback from companies where I interview that they are looking for someone ‘with… Read more »
Mary
Mary
3 years 8 months ago
There is one thing though that I find hard, which relates to so much more than just small talk as well, but it also happens in small talk. I have a tendency sometimes to become clownish in small talk and self-deprecating. “Look at me and my silly weird things, ahah let’s all have a laugh at me”. I know it’s not productive to portray myself like that, but I find that in situation where I feel uncomfortable, I try to entertain the others at my own expense. I just throw myself under the bus, without actually having to. I’ve noticed… Read more »
Piyush Kayastha
Piyush Kayastha
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is “running out of things to say”. I used to attend a few different “meetups” in NYC and it was never an issue approaching any person to start a conversation. In fact, I love talking to people. But, more often than not, I have found that I either hogged the conversation to the point there is nothing left for me to say or the conversation just kinda dries out and withers away. Example: me: Hi, I’m PK, nice to meet you. x: Hi, I’m Y, nice to meet you too. So… Read more »
Ben
Ben
3 years 8 months ago
I’ll say one problem I don’t have is starting a conversation. I used to have this problem, but it got knocked out of me at the beginning of college for a few reasons. The first is that I was just required to meet so many new people so quickly. The second is that, later in that first year, my friends used to dare me to say weird things to random people. I’m a competitive guy, so I went along with it. Mostly they had me saying awful pickup lines. Even though this predictably caused me to crash and burn frequently,… Read more »
Joel
Joel
3 years 8 months ago

My weakness is telling stories, and what I found interesting from your video is how you learned to adjust your explanation of IWT from 30 minutes to 20 seconds. I feel it’s important to get this right to preserve the cadence of the conversation. I see this as slightly different from rambling, as rambling to me comes with lack of direction, or the ability to express oneself.

I am working on my 30 second and 90 second “commercials” and interviewing as I get closer to completing my degree.

Holli
Holli
3 years 8 months ago
I have an internal script that I’m better on paper than I am in person, so mine is a confidence issue. There is some truth to this, as I worked in journalism for a number of years and have found that my written communication often helps me get my foot in the door with people. But, once I get in front of people, I have a tough time thinking on my feet. When I am writing, I have ample time to really think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. I’m working on this… Read more »
Anna
Anna
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I have two major difficulties when it comes to social interactions. One is a fear of initiating a conversation (I’m the one looking busy on my phone), and the second is nervously laughing at myself. I recently quit my fulltime job and committed to what was previously a micro business. The necessity of attending several networking events each month has forced me to become slightly more comfortable starting conversations with strangers. However, since the networking events I attend are generally full of older people, I haven’t successfully transfered this skill towards the younger crowd I see when I am… Read more »
Andrew Gray
Andrew Gray
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness (from a long list of weaknesses) is my fear of being vulnerable in the conversation to build trust. Any time I’m in a social situation I tense up with anxiety and my mind runs amuck. This makes other people feel ackward and uncomfortable.

I’ve tried techniques to try and overcome this. I tried sharing something intimate about myself, or pushing through the fear, even spending $1000’s on seminars to help with this to no avail. I know I need to re-frame but in the moment I just can’t seem to do it.

PT
PT
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is that I tend to irritate other people and I’m not sure why. I tend to avoid talking to other people in general because of this. When I do talk to other people I usually just listen while they talk. I prefer to avoid confrontational topics but it seems to take almost no time at all for me to say something that actually seems to bring out the other person’s ire over something that seems trivial to me. I have learned from this and I tend to never give any opinion over anything until I heard… Read more »
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 years 8 months ago
In response to PT about not knowing why people think you are disagreeing with them: I have had this problem multiple times with my boyfriend. Because I obviously know him well and because he used to be a debater and is good at constructing and deconstructing arguments, I asked him why he thought I was disagreeing with him. It turns out it was because I started my response to his statement with the word “But”, which signaled to him that I was disagreeing with his point. What I was actually trying to do was finish his sentence for him and/or… Read more »
PF
PF
3 years 8 months ago
Hey PT, I found your post really interesting and reminded me of some tips which I thought could help you out. I practiced these until I was comfortable without the pressure of a social situation. You might want to try a couple of things, some might work for you with a bit of practice: 1) there are a couple of positions that look relaxed and get your hands “out of the way” without looking aggressive or weird. Test them out in the mirror (full length if you can) so you know they will work for you when you are feeling… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago

Heinlein stated that ‘Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together’. I think that small talk works the same way.

Mel
Mel
3 years 8 months ago
I am so grateful that you are doing this series, Ramit. As an introvert who is constantly trying to figure out what seems to come naturally to so many, your non-generic advice is pure gold. I answered the question of what is most challenging to me now on the other post, so I thought I’d share one of the stories in my tool box that I haven’t used much recently: Back in 2004, Sir Ridley Scott threatened to sue me. I run the official site for an actor friend who was cast in one of the director’s films. As a… Read more »
Marc
Marc
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is not having a default story toolbox and practicing that toolbox to engage groups of people. When one-on-one, I’m incredibly comfortable and have no problem connecting and having resonance with a person but when it comes to group dynamics, it’s super easy for me to ‘fade into the background’ as friends who are better at entertaining the group and are more comfortable with it tell stories that make them memorable. I find myself being ‘passed over’ socially because I don’t put myself out there. I’ve been told often that I’m soft-spoken and always seemed to have a… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
3 years 8 months ago
In conversation with someone they made a bit of a verbal slip and were quite embarrassed, I told them not to worry, and said it could be worse. I quickly related a story of the time someone unexpectedly asked me what the lyrics to God Save the Queen were (seriously, why would someone ask that??). I completely unthinkingly responded by quoting the Sex Pistols song – I had quoted a few lines before I realised what I was doing!! The person who had asked was looking at me with a mix of confusion and horror, and I was torn between… Read more »
Brice G
Brice G
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit your posts are great! I recently have been socially lacking when it comes to keeping a conversation going and developing it into an actual connection or memorable experience. I’ve been working at improving myself overall for almost a year, and I have gone from being mostly inept at approaching social conversations to being able to go in and start a conversation. Hell I’ve even been getting good at keeping eye contact more often than not(confidence seems to be key). Sometimes it goes alright, and other times it bombs into a spiral of awkward silence that goes no where until… Read more »
Gregory
Gregory
3 years 8 months ago

about 2 hours ago

I was at the office and adoption pop up as a topic.

my story went something like this,

” We went down a hill on our way to Target, this lady came up to us and offered us her baby….”

true story. I thought that the story would not get an reaction but I spent an hour at lunch talking to co-workers(mostly girls….yes.) after that story and they were amazed, and did not stop asking me questions…

Travis Macek
Travis Macek
3 years 8 months ago
My weakness when it comes to social situations is listening and analyzing body language. I am thinking so hard about what I could ask next if they don’t lead the conversation that I never elaborate on what they say. It’s never really a conversation, it’s me asking 4 or 5 scripted generic questions. When I fly through those I start standing around awkwardly or slowly backing away. I am constantly worrying so much about my own body language that I never read theirs, so I have no idea whether or not they are engaged in the conversation. Working in a… Read more »
Norman
Norman
3 years 8 months ago
I’d say that my biggest weakness is talking about myself too much. What tends to happen, when I’m not careful, is that I tell stories about what is going on in my career activities, scientific research, or my political activities and then, when caught up in the “drama” which the other conversant doesn’t care about, forget to pay attention for the cues when they are just done with it. What I have figured out that I need to be doing within conversations (and I’m getting better at this) is to watch the eyes. Besides pivoting the conversation to a different… Read more »
Beth
Beth
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Interesting topic to pick stories. I guess the one thing I’m wondering is which stories do you find to be the ones that pique the most interest. I did just try it with a co-worker and I know realize that I do need to think out how the whole story goes and what exactly is the point of why I’m sharing it. So that begs the question of what you (and all of your research) show as being the most useful type of story – happy, funny, sad, work-related, etc. I know for job interviews I always have five… Read more »
Lucas
Lucas
3 years 8 months ago
I used to have a major problem with social anxiety. I would engage or be engaged by someone and watch myself fall apart. Stumbling over words, nervous laugh, awkward silences. This would continue until they tapped out and we had the “1000 yard stare reset”- pivot 15 degrees to the left, retreat to silence, avoid all eye contact and desperately think of a plausible reason to escape this personal hell. It got pretty ridiculous as I grew up and started going after real jobs. My attempt to correct the behavior was passive at first. I tried to make peace with… Read more »
L E
L E
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is trying to figure out who I am and what I’m about, and successfully projecting that to others. Let me give you some background: I was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago (Leroy Brown was a neighbor), with a life of abundant tragedies following every step of the way. My method of survival was to become a super-nerd and bury my nose in books, become a top student, and avoid eye contact at all costs. This is probably the reason I survived my childhood, but I still got the crap beat out of me… Read more »
Eric M
Eric M
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, I have two issues, but I will discuss the major one. This major issue (which I have seldom been able to get past), is something I need major improvement on because in the long run this will hurt me in my business life… First impressions are big and at the firm I work at I’m meeting new people on a weekly basis. Clients, friends of clients, and prospective clients. For some reason when I start talking to these people I become incredibly self conscious and I start to notice that my body temperature rises to the point where… Read more »
Alexandra
Alexandra
3 years 8 months ago
I think my biggest weakness is making the right impression. I think I’m pretty good at telling stories, making conversation, making jokes, etc but I find sometimes people mis-read my intentions. For example, I want to come off as professional at a networking event but I seem to young and unfocused, or I am talking to friends casually about work and they glaze over because its too high level for a party, or my least favorite, I am trying to be friendly or funny at a bar but guys think its flirting or that I’m trying to make a move.… Read more »
Joe
Joe
3 years 8 months ago
Here’s my social issue: I’ve found that my social skills in a one-on-one situation is generally not bad (we can all improve, of course), and I could use a little more practice in the approach, but I get stumped when I’m in groups. Here’s the scenario – I go to a party/event/gathering where I don’t know anybody, and people have already congregated into tight little circles of conversation. I never know how to get into those circles, so I generally wind up standing on the outside awkwardly, hoping that one of them will see me and welcome me in. Sometimes… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
3 years 8 months ago

I’ve also tried talking about the other person… It works if you can be genuine but I seem to have trouble being genuine… Maybe because I’m so anxious most of the time? Or maybe I should steer the conversation- its all so overwhelming.

S. Trevor
S. Trevor
3 years 8 months ago
Okay here we go, my biggest weakness is allowing myself to become actually connected with the person I am speaking with on a deeper level. I can talk, I can listen, and I can make people laugh but I resist taking the steps to make the social connection any stronger. This inevitably leads me to spew out some non-committal statement, “I don’t have time”, “I will never do that again,” I learned my lesson the hard way”, etc. which then serves to kill any possible opportunity to move forward and truly grow a relationship. In other words I self-sabotage any… Read more »
Ben
Ben
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social skills problem is translating my social skills that I have outside of the workplace with my friends and family (outgoing, sense of humor, tell tons of stories) into useable interaction with those that I deal with in the workplace. My go to story to make people laugh is telling them about the time I was on the Bozo the Clown show and got called down to play the bucket game (where you throw a ping pong ball into 6 different buckets to win awesome prizes – at least for a 7 yeat old). I have told this… Read more »
Tuiã
3 years 8 months ago
I don’t know what happens to me. I’ve been a teacher for a few years and when I talk to a 90 students class I feel I’m great at telling stories and grabing people’s attention. Otherwise, I just can’t talk to a few people and tell stories in a way they demonstrate to like the conversation. People many times ignore what I say and make me feel as if I were irrelevant to the conversation. I’ve tried a lot of techniques and approaches but they don’t work well unless the other person has interests very similar to mine, or if… Read more »
krystall
krystall
3 years 8 months ago
My job is 90% interviews so it may seem like i would need to have awesome social skills. Well I have gotten to the point where i go to these interviews and i feel like i do really well, and i think i actually do. But then when i am hanging out with friends or going to parties I cant talk to ANYONE. Its like i have gotten so accustomed to interviewing that i have actually lost all my normal social skills and its just like an auto response. I sometimes find myself kind of talking out of body and… Read more »
Michele
Michele
3 years 8 months ago
My greatest weakness in socializing is somewhat opposite of one thing you continuously mention Ramit….I over-smile. I know that may sound silly, but I genuinely enjoy social interaction so much, that I smile ear to ear and am so sincerely interested in what people have to share, that they constantly think I am interested in something more than friendship. It sucks because I’ve left numerous jobs due to the boss making a sexual offer that always involves a raise. YUCK. I don’t even realize I am being flirtatious, but obviously am if this happened more than once. My other option… Read more »
Susan
3 years 8 months ago

As a new business owner, I am struggling with the networking side of things. Recently I attended a Small Business seminar in my area, and yes, I was the one sitting alone with my iphone pretending to be busy. Three people actually attempted to have a conversation with me, but we quickly fell into the awkward silence stage 🙁 I just draw a blank when it comes to knowing what to say to other business people. And yet, working in customer service, I have no issues with making conversation with customers.

Jessica
Jessica
3 years 8 months ago
I’m a nutritionist and I speak in front of small audiences and one-on-one with people for a living. There’s a lot of great information here that confirms that I’m doing some things right and that I definitely have room to improve. I find that my biggest social challenge, both at work and in social situations, is that I get so caught up in trying to relay specific INFORMATION that I’m no longer actually COMMUNICATING and I just end up spewing facts at people. I come away from a lot of conversations wondering if anyone was able to take away anything… Read more »
Chris
Chris
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is … oh man, there are so many. I’m terrified of starting conversations with strangers. It takes so much energy and I’m afraid of bombing and being embarrassed. The interesting thing is that when I’m “on stage” (e.g. public speaking or a theater performance) I’m not worried about embarrassment at all. I have no problem with social interactions where it’s pre-agreed that I’m the center of attention, like if I’m at a party and someone says “Hey Chris tell us all that story about …” or “Show us that cool trick where you …”. That fires… Read more »
Jim
Jim
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Great video! My issue has never been with the small talk or conversations. My mother taught me pretty early in life how to “pass the conversation ball” back and forth. My issue is the second and third time I meet someone. I can’t remember their name, I can’t remember what we talked about the last time. I get insanely awkward because I am embarrassed to ask them again. These are people that I should know by now, I recognize their face, but I can’t put it with a name. If I could get over this hump, I would be… Read more »
Seth
Seth
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Fantastic post and video. I’m really glad you’re delving into the social skills. It’s an important fundamental that is way too often overlooked. It’s great that you’re getting into the nitty-gritty. You’re stating: What, why, how. It’s informative and I think a lot of people will greatly benefit from this. With that, here’s my own story: One of my “Go to” stories has to do with an experience traveling around China for a month on a nearly unlimited budget; exploring what I wanted to explore, learning some of the language, and living like a local. Fantastic time, I highly… Read more »
Ferran
Ferran
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Thanks for that insightful post! Here goes my comment: Walking up to strangers and starting a conversation (men/female alike) is no big deal to me. As a librarian, I deal with dozens of people every day, so the first part is not a problem. However, I noticed that many guys and gals think that I am hitting on them (they wish, hahah), just because I am trying to be friendly. Don´t get me wrong, I don´t do flirty (at least not at work), but I think that deep down, so many folks are just so socially inept they… Read more »
Travis Williams
3 years 8 months ago
I am far to intense and high strung for my own good! I’m underdressed, I talk way to much, and speak far to fast for most to keep up! I will admit this right off the bat! I have never had an issue approaching people in public settings (especially girls, since mentioning to them I take portraits builds interest almost immediately). When I tell people about what I do, there is that core interest, but then things start to drag… When I feel this drag (most important: awkward discomfort), I move on, but then get stuck…at this point, I feel… Read more »
Joe
Joe
3 years 8 months ago

I think that my biggest weakness is a fear of being perceived as boring and unentertaining. This results in that I hold back on taking the lead in conversations when I met new groups of people, especially when I think they have higher status than me. I dont believe my story telling skills are anywhere near good enough to hold a groups attention.

Scott Gurrola
Scott Gurrola
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I’ve been consistently socially awkward when it comes to speaking with higher-ups, or the boss of my boss. In the back of my mind, I know these people have some sort of power over me (or at least that’s my frame of thinking). An example from the other day was at work, I had the opportunity to help out an exec who was in plain clothes and unknown to me at the time. I assisted him just like I would with anyone else who comes into the establishment (read: I work in retail, I know, I know, loser…for… Read more »
Faiyam
Faiyam
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My biggest social weakness is not knowing when to leave a conversation. I am a time-monopolizer. This happens for multiple reasons. One, I really want to get on the good side of someone I’m talking to, and don’t know when to simply leave. For example, last thursday I was at a bar with some friends, and I spotted a girl who I’ve thought is gorgeous since freshman year of college (Its now 4 years later). After my buddy forced me to approach her group, I had a pretty decent conversation with them for a while. But I think… Read more »
Kyle
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is lacking subtlety and always giving unwanted suggestions to others. Even if I am “right”, my “tactics” are terrible when it comes to interacting with people, and I oftentimes come off as a narcissist jerk. I don’t like to beat around the bush either and your message on avoiding small-talk hit home. It is like a dance that must be practiced and rehearsed to get the most out of interactions. I recently read Goulston’s book: Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone and it is a fantastic read. I applied several of the… Read more »
Fitch
Fitch
3 years 8 months ago

I have a hard time keeping my conversation concise and to the point. This could be emails or just chatting with someone at a bar.

Piper
3 years 8 months ago
The social skill mistake I tend to make is I give people too much information. I tend to ramble on about things that don’t really matter to them at least not yet. I work in the recruiting business for a direct sales company and need to focus more on my potential recruits “why” this business could work for them. I would like to hone my my skills to talk more effectively with them to connect their “why” to our business so they will join my team. As a result this will grow my business. Thank you in advance for your… Read more »
Jessie Lee O'Sullivan
3 years 8 months ago
I don’t ramble, I tend to talk too much and too fast. I’ve been conscious of this because of following you (and others) though, and have absolutely made significant strides in this. I’ve started taking a water bottle with me where I go and when I catch myself talking too quickly I take a drink and settle down my mind for about 5 seconds. Here’s a scenario of what used to happen/happens sometimes: I tell a story, and it’s a pretty good story where I get significant reactions but I tell it too fast. The punch line gets missed. Half… Read more »
Melanie
Melanie
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is failing to balance being open about sharing my own stories, insights, etc with asking questions and listening to the other person. I overcame my shyness by learning to ask good questions and listen deeply to the other person. This has taken me a long way from where I started socially, but I seem to have gone a little too far with this strategy. Even my close friends feel like it’s hard to get to know me despite the fact that they “tell me everything.” I’d like to learn the right way to self-disclose, to share my… Read more »
Alex
Alex
3 years 8 months ago
Approaching hot women! I used to be very scared of doing this because I was afraid of how I would feel if I got rejected and I thought I would get punched in the face by a jealous guy. Fear of approaching was hard to get over initially, but after a few times being rejected, I began to realize that it wasn’t that big of a deal. After I got over this, I developed a fear of running out of things to say on dates. I handled this fear by simply sharing with a girl exactly what I was thinking… Read more »
Karthik
Karthik
3 years 8 months ago

While I don’t believe I am awkward in normal day to day interactions, my issues normally surface at events or parties. I believe the root of it is the fact that I have trouble starting conversations and that I am not a good story teller. I also have a complex that I am not good at small talk, which I am sure, keeps me from even trying. As a result, I gravitate towards people I already know and am comfortable and don’t push myself.

Michele
Michele
3 years 8 months ago

Comment 118 & your replied you would cover that later this month…

How about in New York! I’m the small town girl that moved to LA and for 7 years worked to find that balance…and never did due to lack of tools and Neil Strauss trainees out there…now back to the small town, single mom, and SUPER READY to step every aspect of my life up! NO more Naive nice girl next door, balance the bitchy, TEACH ME TO BE RICH!

HAHAHA 🙂 I’M READY!

Martha
Martha
3 years 8 months ago
2nd post. I gave my issue earlier. Following is an interesting obsesrvation of someone else in a social setting. For years I’ve observed folks intentionally, seeing what works and doesn’t for others and learning from it. Don’t have Ramit’s education, knowledge and expertise in behavioural paychology, but have always found it interesting. At open house, got into conversation with lady who told me about the business she bought 2 months ago which is in her basement, doomed to fail fairly quickly, I think. First, I didnt think she was all that interested in her business. Told me the name and… Read more »
Maura
Maura
3 years 8 months ago
Great video! I think I have a few main issues. 1.self confidence. I feel like I notice people looking me up and down and then I get all caught up in wondering if I have something in my teeth or my hair went crazy or something, that the person has made some snap judgements and and then I lose all train of thought. Then I go to a mirror, realize there was nothing glaring, and feel like an idiot. 2. In a similar vein, if I feel like the conversation is “important or strategic” I microanalyze everything I want to… Read more »
Charlotte
Charlotte
3 years 8 months ago
When I grew up I did not have a lot of friends (actually more or less none) so I did not get a lot of natural training in social skills, add to this that I was very shy and therefore avoided reaching out to people and the problem was multiplied. I notice today that I’m often too eager to please when talking to people. Say I am networking with somebody who could potentially lead to a new job. I clearly state what I can do and how I could add value, however instead of leaving it at that I add… Read more »
Marc
3 years 8 months ago
I work as a wedding photographer, blogger and writer, so meeting and talking to people isn’t as much of an issue with me as some other readers. However there are times when I brainfart and get completely uncomfortable – such as when I’m out with friends or at networking events. Seeing your scripts and theories reminded me that a lot of the things you recommend were things I naturally do when I’m on the job. I just needed to apply those skills in my other situations. Your skills, abilities and teachings transcend into different industries such as mine and I… Read more »
Susan
Susan
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. Any social exchange is fraught with nerves and followed by exhaustion. Trying to overcome my natural timidity, I once accepted a job with a Fortune 500 company as a repo man. Based on this experience, I shared a story of my greatest career failure with my grown daughter today: As a repo man, I quickly learned that I could negotiate repayment with 95% of delinquent customers over the phone. (I was motivated to do anything so I didn’t have to approach them face-to-face and grab their equipment!) I wobbled through the… Read more »
Susan
Susan
3 years 8 months ago

Oops–forgot to give my daughter’s reaction. She first was amazed I’d ever failed at any endeavor (ha! got her brainwashed) and then said it was great I’d never tried being a bond enforcement agent.

Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years 8 months ago
I’m actually very good at socializing with people, and I was going to say that I’m just naturally that way, but on reflection I realize I’ve been working at it for years. When I was a nerdy teenager, I set about learning everything I could about flirting so I could transform myself into a desirable date. As an adult, I geek out over stuff like discourse analysis (the behavioral science of conversation/interaction), and I’ve routinely done things like choose to go to big events alone so that I’m forced to meet new people. At this point, everywhere I go, I… Read more »
Tammy
Tammy
3 years 8 months ago

I’m generally well-received, but have two huge weaknesses: First, not being empathic and totally present in the conversation means that I forget names and tend to drill with questions as opposed to genuinely engaged. Second, I don’t tell stories.

My bro-in-law is an awesome sales and business person. Many times I have found him, alone, engaged in a full conversation. It took me awhile to pick up on what he was really doing: rehearsing.

I’ll be crafting, testing & honing this week. Thanks!

Gwen
Gwen
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness: Low self-esteem. As an 18-year-old in a conservative country, I am cognizant that what I believe in is against the norm, and as a result, prefer keeping my trap shut than painstakingly conveying my foreign ideals to the masses. I have always had a more refined sense of being than my peers. Changing the world was my life-long dream, but I never really knew how to put my passion into words. Maybe it’s my lack of articulation when it comes to talking about myself, or maybe I could just sense that nobody was really all that interested. Either… Read more »
Ray
Ray
3 years 8 months ago
A tree fell on me once. Really. It pinned me to the hood of a car at this hotel I worked at one summer when I was in college. The tree wasn’t huge, and I wasn’t hurt. The first line always gets a reaction. Always. “You’re kidding, tell me more.” The rest of the story basically robs the first line of its initial impact. Obviously they’re going to find out it didn’t kill me, or I wouldn’t be telling the story. So, big reaction, followed by a little disappointment that I wasn’t somehow permanently maimed. BTW, do you ever study… Read more »
Alicia
Alicia
3 years 8 months ago

Tree fell on me once.

It pinned me to the hood of my car.

Luckily, I kept my senses about and managed to push it half-off and half-slide away. I didn’t get hurt too badly – but that tree fell on me with no warning at all! I never did anything to it! So now I make sure to stay away from trees, they’re not as harmless as you think 😉

Carrie
3 years 8 months ago
Howdy Ramit, Great post! I definitely think I’m a little socially awkward. My biggest issue comes down to knowing what to say. Typically when I don’t know how to respond to someone, I get nervous, laugh awkwardly and sweat. Awesome. The standout instance of this is when I was on a job interview. The interviewer asked “What three words describe you?” I can list three words that describe me perfectly in my sleep. But, that day my brain was dead and unable to think under pressure. I was barely able to rattle out two words and the third word I… Read more »
Ream
Ream
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I consider myself quite good at starting conversations and engaging people (although not adept at ending them), as long as it is just one or two people. My challenge is how to speak to groups of people, particularly during presentations to groups of 10, 20, or more. I do this at work and also for activities related to fundraising for charity etc. Some of these challenges are: 1) Jokes falling flat (people often don’t know a comment was a joke, and it just ends up being confusing) 2) Something that I hoped would be illuminating, inspiring, or moving… Read more »
Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 8 months ago
Everyone has their own conversational pet peeves, and mine is when people interrupt me. But ironically, I have a strange habit: I am FREQUENTLY the interrupter! I do it so often, that I only realize it AFTER I do it! I have an idea of where this came from. When I was younger, I was not very self confident. I was quiet and shy and probably insecure with my social perception of myself. Introspective and easily “distractable”, I would get lost in my thoughts or the surroundings when someone else was speaking to me (kinda still do this). I moved… Read more »
Primoz
Primoz
3 years 8 months ago
Hey there, Ramit! I’m an online entrepreneur myself (thanks to your earn1k course), so I do have a decent amount of online connections. However, it is insanely hard for me to talk to super rich/super successful people and build connections that will last for a long time. In my mind, I always have a feeling that I’m just wasting their time by talking to them. Let me give you an example to explain what I mean right away. A couple of months ago, I went to Vienna for a business dinner (~130 relatively successful businessmen). One day before the conference… Read more »
Vijay
Vijay
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness is mis-judging social cues in a conversation. I am talk to someone I have met for the first time and as the conversation goes on, I suddenly realize that I am doing this “thing” called conversing and realizing that makes me very self-conscious. Suddenly I start judging myself, saying things like,
“hmm..maybe she thinks I am boring..”. This thought lingers on till the conversation ends.

Anouar
Anouar
3 years 8 months ago
When I moved to Berlin I needed to make friends. I said to myself “people hang out in bars”. The only problem is that people in bars tend to already be in groups, and it would be weird just to barge in in such a group. So instead of figuring out how to introduce myself to a group of people who already know each other, I decided to bypass the problem: I went to clubs. In clubs people were dancing and just be scattered all over the place. It was much easier to just start talking to someone. They would… Read more »
Nerea
Nerea
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Thank you for your video. First of all I’m surprised at the number of responses and at just how many people consider themselves to be socially awkward. And there I was thinking I was all alone. I have not been a student of your material for long, which is perhaps why it has also surprised me that there are so many ways to address areas of weakness in the social skill arena. I mean, who knew that you could memorize scripts for initiating, maintaining and terminating conversations? Unbelievable. Weakness #1: Rather than take risks and sound unknowledgeable in certain… Read more »
Denise
Denise
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social skills challenge is that if I go to a social event with someone who is an extrovert I tend to be less social and engaging and allow that person to take the lead. For example, I went to a wedding with my best friend who is an extrovert and she dominated the conversation at a table of people I didn’t know well. Even when I tried to say something and join the conversation it almost felt like I was competing for “air time” with her. I have to say as the reception progressed I talked less and… Read more »
C Walker
C Walker
3 years 8 months ago
I’m going off of the video prompt instead of the post one. And I must say, that you actually are more thoughtful, softer (in a good, masculine way) and far less bombastic than your posts suggest. My biggest social skill issue is not wanting to/being afraid to approach people and tend to be introverted. I have tons of friends, across the world, that I’ve known for years. I don’t date much, however. And on occasion, I a few of those great friends have told me that they initially thought I didn’t like them or that I was unapproachable. And I… Read more »
Liza
Liza
3 years 8 months ago

Ramit
Great video today! You hit on several major social stumbling blocks.
So helpful!
In conversation I am pretty good at the intro, when the small talk starts I go into my head and get awkward.
REALLY AWKWARD (and potentially aggressively repellant)
A great example – I was hit on by an adorable male model.
Mr. Gorgeous : “Don’t leave without letting me buy you a drink!”
Me, smiling: “I won’t.”
Mr. Gorgeous: “I’m Mikail”
Me, in my head, sure I don’t deserve the attention of this god: “like Sieg Heil?”

What the f*** is wrong with me? Ack!
Would love some help.

M
M
3 years 8 months ago
As someone who used to sport the body type of a rescue greyhound minus the athletic ability, I have struggled with confidence. My biggest weakness is when first relating to those who are far more accomplished. If I know them already, or they seek me out, then I can relate well, however when I am approaching a person like this for the first time, I have a harder time. For example, I have been at meetings or social gathering where when I look around the room and realize that I am the only one who is not the head of… Read more »
Matt
3 years 8 months ago
I tend to over share too much information in situations that just don’t make sense. For example, I’m standing in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s with my wife and 3 kids. (Not the best scenario for small talk with anyone.) The guy behind us knows my wife from an old job and we all do the “Hey, I’m Matt…” blah blah blah. They guy’s wife notices my debit card is a USAA card and mentions how much she loves USAA. Instead of replying, “Yeah, we love them too.” I go into this awkward story about how the only reason… Read more »
Bruce
Bruce
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest problem with social interactions is fear and wondering of what the other person thinks of me and/or how I’m doing in the interaction. This in-sitation over evaluation causes me to be tense and come across awkwardly.

For example, I might start a conversation well, but then start over judging every word, facial expression, body expression the other person is making. It’s paralyzing.

Dan
Dan
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is speed of thought. For my age and education, I’m in the lower 20th percentile for cognitive speed, but in the 98th percentile for attention and 86th for problem solving (data from Luminosity). The result is that I am slow, deliberate, perfectionistic, and can be easily intimidated by the very people I’d like to get to know. This is also compounded by a subtle elitist and critical undertone in speaking, which comes naturally. This is excellent for debates and sometimes meetings, but horrid for making new friends. In generally I’m also very different from most people and… Read more »
Chris
Chris
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is a fear about how I’ll come across when I say something. This SUCKS because in a gathering, I’ll think of a joke then think “nah, that won’t go over well.” Usually anywhere between 5-30 seconds later somebody else will say THE EXACT SAME THING, get a ton of laughs, and I’ll just be off wherever I am going “Damn it!” Graphic example, but I was at a bar where a blind lady was walking around selling sperm shots — like actual plastic drink containers that look like sperm filled with white alcoholic liquid. We got some,… Read more »
Donna
Donna
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I would consider myself a social butterfly that can’t control her wings. I struggle with my confidence, over sharing and calibrating a situation. If I am intimidated by the person I’m talking to it’s hard for me to keep eye contact and stop myself from rambling and talking at a fast pace. Then if I tell a story and it falls flat I instantly become mortified and try to salvage the joke by explaining it over and over again. Afterwards I will completely fade from the conversation and try to find the darkest corner to hide in and… Read more »
Kristie
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social challenge is following up. I’m a very in the moment type and curious about people. I don’t have any problem striking up a conversation, and on a regular basis end up talking/bonding with someone for hours. I’m able to have genuine connections with people but after that initial great conversation I often avoid there calls. Ugh I hate myself for doing it! I have a couple theories but I’m not 100% sure why I do that. A) I feel like I hit it off with someone now they’re calling and it’s going to monopolize all my time.… Read more »
Sepideh Saba
Sepideh Saba
3 years 8 months ago
I know they don’t like me! I think they they are not interested talking to me. This is my invisible script before even meeting people or while speaking with some people! There gotta be something about my face or social skills or body language that I don’t impress people in first meeting or I think they are not impressed as much. But those who people I keep seeing them after a while or I get to be more comfortable with them. They are often shocked or impressed how different I am! I had this meeting for the first time with… Read more »
Josh
Josh
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is consistency. I get extremely self-conscious about how much I’m talking, but also about how keeping a comfortable conversation going. What ends up happening is that, on one hand, I want to get to know people well and feel a sense of closeness to them, but on the other I don’t want to show all my cards and dominate by only talking about myself or seeming like I’m sharing too much too fast. For example, I’ve heard from a few acquaintances that I carry an air of mystery, like I’m not… Read more »
Nate
Nate
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is never feeling like I’ve left a memorable impression. I think I’m pretty good at small talk, however, I’ve noticed that I’ll meet someone for a second or third time and they don’t quite remember me. So, WWRD (what would Ramit do). I tested a few things and found that I become more memorable when I leave the person I’m talking to with something of value. For example, if I meet someone new to my city I’ll ask them what kind of food they like, then recommend a restaurant to them. I’ve also recommended books or articles… Read more »
Jeremy Hall
Jeremy Hall
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, This video was quite insightful, specifically the parts on calibrating your message as your delivering it to either warp the conversation up, to transition, or to elaborate a bit more. I think the most important thing is how to listen to other people and really hear what they are saying, especially their tone of voice and body language. I think I can improve on body language and transitioning more effectively. Plus, I could always become a better listener. For example, I am a fairly laid-back person who needs to work on being more assertive. I used to think… Read more »
Rick Knack
Rick Knack
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in a mingling environment is an exit strategy. I’m actually pretty decent at making small talk, and I feel like I can drive the conversation. Where I have problems is getting out when I’m bored with whomever I am speaking, or when I can tell they are ready to move on. For example, I was at a career forum for my company a few months ago. I began talking with some acquaintances, when another person joined in the conversation. He wasn’t speaking much, so I asked him some questions to pull him in and make him feel… Read more »
david
david
3 years 8 months ago
I bring up an innocent self-deprecating story of my childhood (well, age 16). I find it is lighthearted enough for many occasions, provides people a sense of nostalgia, and it often lowers other people’s guard (and they share their own story they are reminded of). Then it just becomes a flow of topics after that. —– When I was 16, in high school, and just learning to drive, my mom asked me a favor. She asked me to stop by Blockbuster and pick up a movie…I think it was Braveheart . I was on my way out and then she… Read more »
Bill
Bill
3 years 8 months ago
Coming off in the way I want/meant to in a conversation. I am fairly young but do a lot of reading, been to interesting places and have done a lot of interesting things but I feel when I try to tell the stories about my experiences I come off like a complete doucher. First of all I am a naturally fast speaker so there are times people have literally asked me to slow down. Then at times I can mumble (obviously worse when I am speaking too fast). Even if I get past those issues I feel like the way… Read more »
Kyle
Kyle
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in social situations tends to be not remembering some of the topics of a conversation that we had before, which can hurt especially the second time you meet an acquaintance of a friend or through work. I think it’s because I tend to go on question/stock comment autopilot (fake laughs and all). This is especially the case when I feel like I may not see them again or aren’t terribly interested in what we’re talking about. However, it’s also happened to me with clients, which is more damaging, because they assume that you remember what we had… Read more »
david
david
3 years 8 months ago
Oops, have to repost since it excluded everything I had in the left/right arrows before. Sorry 🙂 —- I bring up an innocent self-deprecating story of my childhood (well, age 16). I find it is lighthearted enough for many occasions, provides people a sense of nostalgia, and it often lowers other people’s guard (and they share their own story they are reminded of). Then it just becomes a flow of topics after that. —– When I was 16, in high school, and just learning to drive, my mom asked me a favor. She asked me to stop by Blockbuster (people… Read more »
Diana
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness: Thinking that no one really wants to get to know me (insecure). I don’t give myself enough credit as a person or professional…not to mention I feel like being married with a 10 month old baby kills my conversations. If I happen to get out of the house without my baby (rare but does happen) I get this horrible feeling that people are looking at me…judging me (I’m Canadian but live in Spain). Sometimes I like being “the foreigner” but then other times I feel like I’m totally an outsider and different. It isn’t long before my… Read more »
Nath
Nath
3 years 8 months ago
I don’t have only one weakness when I’m discussing with someone, but several !! I am more a listener person than talkactive. I don’t know how to tell stories… I try to be funny, but…. I am often not. When I become nervous, I ask 100 questions/minute. When the other person is someone…let’s say…more cultivated than me, I prefer not to open my mouth as I am afraid to say something ridiculous. I will make it short : 1) this “get social-skills training” would be a FAN-TAS-TIC experience for me, this would be a hugh opportunity to developp my communication… Read more »
Carolyn
Carolyn
3 years 8 months ago
This is an example of how to fail at picking your audience. I was at a Christmas/New Year’s Party a few years ago while I was still in undergrad (Zoology major which will partially explain why I thought what I was saying was interesting, though I realized as I was saying it that it WAS NOT haha). Cocktails and appetizers are out, I was talking with some really good friends and a friend of theirs, let’s call her Susie (I was acquainted with her, but not friends). Susie was talking about going to school in Alabama and being engaged to… Read more »
Lupe
Lupe
3 years 8 months ago

My problem is similar to the WoW guy on the video. I ask a ton of questions but when I am asked a question my response is uninteresting. I try asking more uninteresting questions making it seem like I am interrogating them. They quickly try to get out of the conversation and speak to some one else. After watching the video I will work on the following things: taking control of the conversion by not being passive, creating interesting stories to tell people, and practice telling these stories. Thanks Ramit

Dirk
Dirk
3 years 8 months ago

Besides approaching unknown people, giving them an insight of my true self, through my linguistic usage or body language, and finding a connection between the two us, that we both can benefit from, is probably one of the biggest challenges I have faces so far in my life.

Amir
Amir
3 years 8 months ago
I am a 1uper. My go-to conversation continuation is to tell a story of a similar experience that has an even greater result. Someone will be telling me about how there car broke down on the way to the event and I go to the story of when my steering broke on xmas eve. The can tell me about their trip to Italy, and I will top it with my trip through Italy on the back end of a 5 city trip. I can’t seem to find something in their story to pull out and conversationalize. I need to take… Read more »
Max
Max
3 years 8 months ago
VOLUME CONTROL. This is a problem both literally (the actual decibels of my voice) and figuratively (shutting other people out of the conversation by talking over them). I am very passionate about many things, and when someone shows the slightest inkling of interest in one of them, I get really, REALLY excited about hyping it up. It took 20 years before I even realized this was a problem: one day, I was driving someplace with my girlfriend, and the enclosed acoustics of the car made my already-loud voice so unbearable that she couldn’t take it anymore. She flailed her arms… Read more »
Sylvie
Sylvie
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness at this moment is feeling overwhelmed by my invisible scripts ( e.g. what I have to say is not interesting or the other person really does not want to engage with me or like me, but is being polite) to the point where I either shut down and go blank or I give too much extraneous detail. For example, if I am talking to a “big wig or VIP,” I am so worried about making a good impression or sounding interesting that I fail to really listen to them and therefore when it is my turn to… Read more »
Jasmine
3 years 8 months ago
Hi, Ramit! First off here’s the story. I’ve used it a few times now, and gotten some laughs, sometimes not. I believe it has to do with my delivery. * So everyone’s got pictures they hope never surface on the internet. Mine involve melons. It all started out as a pretty good first date – good conversation and good food. Then somewhere after talking about my past career as a massage therapist, he proceeds to blurt out; ” Wow, you could probably crush melons with your bare hands. ” As you can imagine it devolved quickly after that, into driving… Read more »
Tatiana
Tatiana
3 years 8 months ago
I’d love to get free training!! My biggest socializing weakness is maintaining conversations with strangers. I’ll introduce myself to someone and at first I’ll ask a lot of questions but then the conversation often falls flat. For example, I went to an apartment warming party, a friend of my room mate’s. I started talking to this guy about Nooks, Kindles and just e-readers in general and in the middle of the conversation he completely turned away from me – utterly disengaged from everywhere I was saying. So, after a few seconds when I realized what had happened, I walked away… Read more »
Dave
Dave
3 years 8 months ago
One of my biggest challenges is that I am not assertive enough. I progressed quickly in my career as a management consultant because of my hard skills, but now I’m facing a real career roadblock because I’m too timid and quiet in meetings, presentations and social events, especially with senior clients. I also avoid confrontation and awkwardness at all costs. This is a problem when your job is (A) to share your opinions with confidence and credibility, (B) disagree with people when necessary and convince them of your views, and (C) manage a team. I tell myself that I am… Read more »
Zainab
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My biggest social weakness is having too much energy and being loud – loud with my voice and my body language. I exude too much unnecessary energy. My hands move too much, my facial expressions are animated, I talk too fast, I talk too loud. Its as if I am trying too hard to make an impression or to win a favor. And if I’m down a glass or two of wine, its worse! I recognize this and I know that the simplest, easiest thing for me to fix it is to control my voice. If I can… Read more »
Apoorv
Apoorv
3 years 8 months ago
Hey ramit, My biggest social weakness is that I am passive listener. You can also say that I have your I I I syndrome. I do not comment on what other person said. More importantly I never compliment other person. Many times I am not even listening to what they said. I am just waiting for them to finish so I can start talking about myself. And I seem them loosing interest in what I have to say by rolling their eyes or looking away. As you can infer I do not remember any specific situation because I wasn’t listening.… Read more »
Brett
Brett
3 years 8 months ago
In social situations, I most frequently struggle with the following three things: 1. Exiting conversations. For example, I seem to find myself in the situation where I introduce myself to someone, they introduce themselves, and then, I say something dumb like, “Cool,” and we stand there with our hands in our pockets, not really facing each other, but neither of us wanting to just walk away. In worst case scenario, I pull out my phone and check Instagram. LAME. 2. As an introvert, give me an hour in a bar, and I want to kill myself because I’m so exhausted… Read more »
norman
norman
3 years 8 months ago

I am open and find it easy to engage with a wide range of people. However, I do pull back, or get nervous, when someone else that I’m speaking with, or someone part of a group, is more aggressive in telling stories/jokes or overtly outgoing. Then I’ll tend to back off. Also, if I need to depend on my short term memory for a list of points that I want to make then I clinch up because I have to use effort in remembering my points. In other words, I’m better at speaking extemporaneously.

Lang
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My weakness, is in telling stories, and sometimes going back into robotic monotone voice mode. It doesn’t happen all the time. I’ve noticed that when I go into a topic that I think is important or is useful to the other person, I go into Wikipedia mode, and talk like I’m lecturing someone. I know it’s boring, but I don’t know how to convey the information otherwise while not dumbing it down. Another weakness, is going from the small talk level of conversation to something more deep and engaging. For example, How do I leave a last impression… Read more »
Timothy
Timothy
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest problem is always feeling like an outsider in a group. When it’s one-on-one, I’m pretty much OK at the conversation (though there’s work to do there too); however, most of the time when I want to start talking with someone, it’s in the context of a large group of his/her friends standing around, typically before or after an event, and I really can’t get “in” without feeling awkward. This happened about a month ago after an interesting lecture. A group of students, some of whom I knew and others of whom I really wanted to get to know,… Read more »
Anne
Anne
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in social situations (and lecturing situations too) is repeating myself, or more precisely reinterpreting things I have already said. I am a fairly adept person in social situations and it has spoiled me. I expect people to laugh. I expect people to connect with me. I expect to put people at ease and keep them smiling. If I am not able to do that, I just doggedly keep trying. (Even though I am fairly certain this has never actually made anyone warm up to me.) I labor under this false belief that if I just come up… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve always wanted to be the slightly weird amusing guy with weird things to say and at the start, I was only the weird kid. See, I never paid attention to pauses, voice changes, body language, eye contact and reading other’s faces, so what I did was that I told a story quick and laughed. Turns out, that’s not how you tell a story. I was treated with silence. What was interesting was when I started listening in to how others could draw a crowd and study how they could make everyone stop talking and start listening by simply starting… Read more »
Gary Novosel
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I’ve gone from working from large corporations to starting up my own raw dog food business. I love what I do now and comments from customers are very positive about my products. I’m scared to death to start a conversation with someone about what I do. My strategy is to develop and test stories about ingredients, science, benefits for a dog, but most of my attempts are so bad I’ve had dogs walk away from me. One actually fell asleep! (Person, not the dog.) The dog just started licking itself… I’ve been asked to do videos and go on… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness is I have a sense of humour similar to yours and I say things that are hilarious but only to me or someone like you if they are in the room which is rare. So how can I be the average boring person “funny” ?? and manage to think before I speak without creating long pauses or a constipated look while Im going over possible responses in my head.

Robin
Robin
3 years 8 months ago
Weaknesses – 1. I don’t know why I’m not that engaging. I start out talking to people who seem interested, then often they just move on someone else (party setting). I ask lots of questions but add in my stories too. What gives? 2. I’m unsure about everything. What I’m wearing, which door to enter into, what drink to order. Where’s the rules and how come everyone else knows them but me? We just moved to a new town and really dont want these weaknesses to keep me from meeting new people. Storytelling-I told this story about my colleges friends… Read more »
Kim
Kim
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve recently gotten into cooking and started a small kitchen fire the other day, meaning the paper towel in my hand went up in flames. To save my hand from getting burned, I threw the flaming paper towel not in the sink but on the floor where it really picked up. Naturally, I grabbed some celery from the counter and whacked it violently until it went out. Celery worked. Still working on my cooking skills and might need a fire safety class along with the social skills training. This story was the first to come to mind and typing it… Read more »
Natacha
Natacha
3 years 8 months ago
Hello Ramit, My weakness, when it comes to social skills, is that, like you, I ask to many questions, or talk too much and too fast, or tell jokes I only relate to. It is a way to make sure the conversation is going on and the people in front of me don’t feel awkward if they don’t know what to say. But I know it is bad, and now, thanks to you, I’ve realized that, not only it is really bad, but I need to stop doing so, and find new ways to keep having normal conversations with people.… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit. Thanks for sharing your story and hard earned wisdom. I spent many years as a caterer, so I’m used to being ‘busy’ in social settings and part of the background. I tend to wind up “in the kitchen at parties…” As my own host I focus on organizing people, food, setting, etc. — I hang back and watch, let other people have the stage/limelight. I feel safer being anonymous, and staying a bit removed. While I feel ok being in front of groups as an instructor, running workshops, etc. I feel awkward ‘being myself’ (ie not having a… Read more »
Mike
Mike
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness has to do with my breathing – In high pressure situations I tend to hold my breath while talking and this leaves me out of breath for the duration of the conversation. For example, if I’m answering an interview question with a concise 30-45 second reply, I end up nearly choking on the last few words because I hold my breath while I speak. I spend more time thinking about trying to control my breathing than actually thinking about what to say and how to make good dialogue. Also, because I use my “listening time” to catch… Read more »
Harry Guinness
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, my biggest problem is a really odd one. I’m generally pretty good in social situations, however, I have a tendency to treat experts or famous people no differently to anyone else, especially in situations where I should be giving them more respect. This has led to some awkward situations where I have teased people like my lecturers who then haven’t found the joke very funny. I feel this has the potential to cost me when interacting with people who I could learn from; where instead of being respectful, I can come across as rude, and to a degree,… Read more »
Ben
Ben
3 years 8 months ago
I think my biggest weakness is that I sometimes come off as cold or not caring in conversations with strangers. The reason for that is, if after a few minutes I find my interlocutor slightly uninteresting (which is quite common), I don’t make an effort anymore to keep the conversation going. I usually don’t have a problem with silence, so if suddenly the person stops talking, I won’t make an effort to pursue the dialogue. I will not escape either, I’ll just stay there and make the other person feel uncomfortable. The problem with that is I often miss great… Read more »
Jay
Jay
3 years 8 months ago
Hey, I love the way you actually managed to compliment yourself in the video, Ramit. Great job 🙂 My biggest weakness ? I have trouble going out of my comfort zone when willing to meet new people. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid of failure or not (I guess it’s the case), but I’m almost ALWAYS doing things when I’m sure they’ll work. And I know I’m loosing tons of opportunities because of that, yet I still haven’t managed to work on it. You actually gave the example in the article below, but that’s a thing I’ve been… Read more »
Trina
3 years 8 months ago
I love this post. It instantly reminds me of the movie “Hitch” where Will Smith is trying to help his client learn how to dance. Communication styles are definitely a form of dance & we could use some help with our moves. One of my personal social hangs-ups is stopping too long, mid conversation, to process before responding. This tends to happen when I either 1) want to react emotionally but am stopping myself to come up with a diplomatic response or 2) am super intrigued by the question or statement and want to process and offer some insight on… Read more »
M.J.
M.J.
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness with social skills is either being overly enthusiastic or not enthusiastic at all. For example, if someone approaches me about hot yoga, I might be very excited to learn about where they take class, if they like it in a heated room or not, or who their favorite teacher is. I can REALLY engage. Same thing goes with talking about government, politics, or business in general. Now—if a man calls me at work, telling me a spaceship landed in his backyard and I need to do something about it, then I get really frustrated, put the phone… Read more »
Kathleen
3 years 8 months ago
I feel like I am fairly socially competent. However even though I think I am a fairly interesting person, I do not think I present myself in a very interesting light. I find I can talk to strangers without a lot of difficulty. It seems rare that those I have just met are riveted by the conversation. I cannot figure out if I am talking to people who are just boring and dull or if I am inadvertantly doing something to turn poeple off. I must admit at times it takes me a lot of words to get my point… Read more »
Kate
Kate
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest social skills challenge: A Conflux (Confluence) of (1) Lack of Confidence… and (2) Jumping the Gun Here one thing I did: As an undergraduate journalism major interning at the Allentown Morning Call, I had to do “man on the street” interviews and quickly got over my fear of initiating conversations. Essentially, I had to choose: continue being shy and fearful, or (2) Put food on the table. So, reporter’s notebook in hand, I began to initiate conversations with random people on the street and ask them about, for example, the latest tax raise, gas prices, shootings in center city… Read more »
Darby
Darby
3 years 8 months ago
I generally feel pretty confident in both professional and social situations, but there is one particular situation in which my confidence plummets and I find myself feeling very awkward: when I attend events or conferences where I perceive “everyone” to be a successful entrepreneur – much more successful than me. In these cases I feel like I can’t offer as much value as other people in the room; I’ll approach people and talk to them, but once we introduce ourselves I start to feel really awkward because I’m embarrassed to talk about my own business (I started doing SEO and… Read more »
Brendan
Brendan
3 years 8 months ago
I am very young for the job I’m in (Data Manager) and in my field (Politics), age and experience are seen as synonyms. One of my various responsibilities at work is attending and work events (read: fundraisers) we host, so I spend a lot of time mingling. My biggest weakness socially, that I’ve noticed at these events, is feeling inferior. I’m working the event and I don’t make much money. The people attended these events are very wealthy and successful. When I first got this job, this feeling of inferiority manifested in me hyping-up what I did. I thought, then,… Read more »
Justine
Justine
3 years 8 months ago
My weakness is being too mean or too teasing too early in, and always being seen as a “bitch” or “sarcastic.” I immediately start giving people shit when I meet them. I can’t seem to help myself! For example I was at a local networking event a few months ago and was having an ok conversation and apparently made fun of this guys penguin tie. (I don’t remember doing this btw). A few months later ran into the same guy at the same event and he introduced me as “that bitchy girl who gave me shit about my dead grandma’s… Read more »
Trey Rodriguez
Trey Rodriguez
3 years 8 months ago
It took high school, college, and my first 2 years in the workforce testing and improving my presence to create what stands before you today. The good news is that I improved tremendously and my outwardly displayed confidence rose faster and more consistently than sales of Viagra in the early 2000s. The bad news is that my effort to include more animation and expressiveness in my conversations has left me with Mike Wazowski syndrome. Entertaining, yes. At times over the top, yes. Taken seriously, no. Balance may be the antidote, but to the drawing board one must go. http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Mike_Wazowski The… Read more »
Omar
Omar
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is calibrating my job description when talking to different audiences. I started as a policy analyst and am now a policy director, but when I’m outside of audiences that are familiar with those terms, I haven’t found great ways of having people understand what I do. The best solution I’ve tested is starting broad with something like: “I’m a policy director at a non-profit” Then I give them room for follow-up where I can provide more detail or change the subject if that’s enough. I’m pretty sure that works, but I can’t tell if people aren’t asking… Read more »
Jenna Dalton
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Thank you for the opportunity. My biggest weakness is that I’m usually worried about what other people are thinking about me and what I should say next that I’m not staying “in the moment”. I have to make a super conscious effort to actually LISTEN to what the other person is saying instead of trying to figure out what I’m going to say next, especially before there’s an awkward pause. I know a huge part of this has to do with me being self-conscious and a natural introvert but it’s something that I’m always working on and would… Read more »
Carl Oliver
Carl Oliver
3 years 8 months ago
I have no issues with approaching and starting up a random conversation with strangers. I actually think I have a bit of a strength in this area. My biggest weakness comes in transitioning the conversation from introductions and idle chit chat to the “hook” that turns it into a real, genuine conversation. In your video above, you demonstrate this skill with your “hot sauce” transition. I’ve had some wonderfully awkward attempted transitions (I’ve had some so bad, that what could have been a networking opportunity turned into a “I hope I never see this person again” situation). I have been… Read more »
Stephanie T
3 years 8 months ago
I can initiate a conversation, but continuing it in an interesting way fails me. My brain seems to slow down. If I’ve met a lawyer, all I can think of are dumb lawyer jokes. If it’s a nurse, my brain is filled with, “Ick! Not needles!” So I turn to the food, the weather or something else safe and boring. I don’t wind up getting to the know the person well at all. I really want to feel more comfortable switching to a topic that will interest them or lead them to something that will interest them.
Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 8 months ago
Oh man, I’m so glad you “went there,” Ramit. This stuff is so important. Being a branding person + working from home for the last 2 1/2 years hasn’t been a great combination for me. I completely “get” how important personal presentation is– from what you wear to to your demeanor to your word choice. It all adds up to create the impression that people have of you, and first impressions are hard to change. So I understand what a superpower good social skills can truly be. Unfortunately, though, ruminating on all of this has royally backfired for me in… Read more »
Daniela
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit! Is the first time I receive your newsletter and I must say that I love it. Thank you for all the funny stories and the advices you gave. This week I’ve been talking to my mom about my most common mistake when engaging myself in a nice conversation. You’ll see. I like meaningful conversation, the ones that you feel that you connect with the other person either if you are talking about personal stuff or business. My problem is that I get too passionate about it and I may start raising my voice. The worst part comes when… Read more »
Robert
Robert
3 years 8 months ago
My social skill weakness is constantly chiming in with “my own take” or my own personal narrative on a story. For example, if someone was describing a movie they saw during the weekend, I’d routinely cut someone off and start discussing my point of view, my two cents, my personal story related to the movie, etc. In order to combat this, I’d distinctly tested combating this urge by with two items. First, I will only offer my opinion on something if asked about it. For example, if someone was discussing Silver Linings Playbook, I’d only chime into the conversation if… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I think my biggest problem taking control when I am out-alphaed. I hate that. Over the past years, I have practiced stories, practiced body language, listened to friends, looked at comedians etc etc. I want to be able to catch everyone’s attention whenever I need to. Why? Because I live to try and inspire other people. For that reason, every time someone else comes in and steals the show, I get annoyed and I turn small in a way that if I want to grab the attention back I just turn weird and am being perceived as weird.… Read more »
Patrick Jaszewski
Patrick Jaszewski
3 years 8 months ago
One of my biggest problems when talking with people is being expressive and interesting while not coming off as bragging about myself and the things I do. One recent example was after I returned to work from visiting Istanbul for a vacation, my co-workers naturally asked me how my trip was. I said, “it was great – I had an awesome time” while they stare at me and expect me to go on further. I proceed to list all of the fun things I did and wonderful food I tried, but I can see that their eyes glaze over quickly… Read more »
Christina
Christina
3 years 8 months ago
I have several social weaknesses that I’ve attempted to correct, but I feel that when I correct one thing, another weakness starts to surface, so it’s like trying to play the whack-a-mole game, which is a game that I’m good at. When it comes to tackling these weaknesses though, it’s not as fun because when I reflect on my own social image and how I look like in the bigger picture, I can feel so awkward that I just want to crawl into a hole. Being sufficiently animated and engaging is the biggest challenge for me, because I know that… Read more »
Apolline
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve never been uncomfortable at a party or event even if i don’t know anyone. I mean I’m the one starting conversations, I ask questions, I listen, make people laugh. I small talk in the street, the supermarket, the elevator…I like to be nice to strangers and make their day brighter. Then, like you said, as a woman i’ve learned to end conversations since i’m 13 but…the difficult part for me is to talk about myself. i’m sooo afraid of what other people will think and that then might not like me, it’s ridiculous! This is why i love your… Read more »
Hayley
3 years 8 months ago
as per usual i am left thinking how the f*** did i not realise some of this stuff. I think my biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is that my expectations of myself compared to what i feel others see does not stack up. Have you ever had that thing happen where you think youre about to tell a really funny story, after all when it happened it was the most ridiculous thing that ever happened to you. And then…no one laughs, not a giggle, chuckle or chortle, all you can hear is akward silence and youre like… Read more »
Jenni
Jenni
3 years 8 months ago

I think that one of my biggest challenges is assuming that I’m burdening the other person by engaging them in a conversation – maybe they’re too busy, maybe they don’t want to talk with me, etc. Also, I think I awkwardly cut off conversations because of the reasons mentioned above – really, I don’t know sometimes when to perceive the conversation is over.

Lee
Lee
3 years 8 months ago

Hi Ramit, you are really good at engaging people, giving your readers the opportunity for meaningful feedback as well as involving a comp. I find it excellent and also the fact that you make your readers aware that their feedback will be read(maybe not by you but it’s read anyway) excellent.
My own failure in conversations is although being fairly active socially, I find it easy to talk and listen, my thing is that I need to be more confident when talking to possibly prospective clients or even clients that I work for.
Keep up the great work, many thanks,
Lee

John Corcoran
3 years 8 months ago
I am definitely a story teller – there’s few things I like more than shooting the shit with interesting people who can tell good stories. Most of my friends have that in common – they are all good story-tellers as well. I love it. So I have a lot of stories I tell probably too frequently, although I am careful to try not to repeat stories. Here’s a recent one. My wife and I decided to take my son to the zoo recently. Our son is 2 and he’s just learning how to speak in longer sentences. He loves animals… Read more »
James
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness in social situations is guiding the conversation into things that will make it interesting and valuable. I’ve gotten better at starting conversations most of the time and I’m alright and focusing on them and asking questions but they start to peter out because I don’t know what to bring to the table besides questions. I guess I don’t know how to balance rambling on about what I am doing and asking too many questions.

Joe
3 years 8 months ago

I think my biggest weakness is getting over the initial awkwardness of talking to a stranger. Maybe it’s some lingering “stranger danger” phobia from when I was a kid, but I just don’t feel comfortable around people I don’t know. With my friends, I’m the life of the party, but if I don’t know you, I clam up. I try to get out and meet people every day, but it’s a struggle.

Rod Waynick
3 years 8 months ago
New year’s eve, I’m at a local bar in my (very) small hometown. The place is packed because it was raining and cold outside. We’ve all got our champagne in hand, ready to celebrate the new year. I’m there with a friend of mine and don’t know many other people there, so I freeze up and wait for my friend to finish chatting before I can even think about approaching someone. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I have a hard time striking up conversation or even introducing myself to people I don’t know, especially in these crowded… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is a love for story, whether it’s telling my own or hearing someone else’s — even when they go on and on and on. I find myself listening to other people’s stories for way longer than I should. I’m honestly interested in the story but I think my reactions are contributing to the storyteller rambling. I tend to ask a lot of questions, to dig into motivations or understand something new to me (I am working on my own storytelling skills so I’m always looking for characters, plot twists, narrative paths). While this is somewhat beneficial, at… Read more »
Jeremy
3 years 8 months ago
I’m horribly nervous approaching people and initiating conversations where I know I can gain networking / possible job advantages. Basically, selling myself. I’ve had people at all levels of the business rave about my photography skills, solid critiques, etc… but for some reason, unless I’ve already gotten to a scheduled, one-on-one meeting – I tend to be bad at casually introducing myself and stearing the conversation towards what I have to offer as a photographer. When I do have opportunities in public, I tend to rush through details, I often let others dictate the pace of the conversation. When I’ve… Read more »
DJ
3 years 8 months ago
One of my weakness I have socially is standing in front of an audience. I will clam up and forget what I’ve said or what I’ve been asked. For example, just finished my defense to graduate and listening back (recorded it) I was shocked that I had to ask a few questions to be reworded because I didn’t HEAR what was asked. I don’t feel comfortable being the center of attention. Though i believe that I have powerful social skills on a one-on-one bases. As for your advice on small talk, thank you. I need to remind myself to be… Read more »
Airy
Airy
3 years 8 months ago
Argh! My biggest weakness in the social skills is that I have a tendency to run away from conversations. For instance, if the person I’m talking to seems awesome (socially skilled, intelligent, AND witty), I feel so incapable of keeping up that I always try to end the conversation and to get away so that the person won’t realize how much of a dunce I am. I think it has more to do with insecurity issues, but if there’s a way of making social skills compensate for a little lack of intelligence and ineptitude, I’m game. Second weakness, inability to… Read more »
Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years 8 months ago
For me I guess it’s simply that I’m struck by a debilitating fear whenever I know that I’m going to be in a situation where I’m going to have to speak with someone I’ve never spoken before. Be it networking or a social occasion, being self-employed means that I have no-one other than myself to hold to account (ok other than the family) so if I can get out of it I often do. Failing that I will wander around, avoiding eye contact and trying to pick up any snippets of info I can overhear or brochures I can take… Read more »
Timo Wolthof
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I’m not naturally born to be an outgoing person but practice has made me up to a point that I’m comfortable talking to others but having a hard time relating and understanding the effects of what I convey. It’s partly a question about what, but more about how does the person experience what I am saying. I tend to use voice, tone and or body language that could be experienced in a bad way but I sincerely don’t mean it like that. And because this is rooted in my very core, I find it hard to cope with… Read more »
Liz Chen
Liz Chen
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge in conversations is asking too many questions, not talking enough, and not taking control of the conversation more often. Unless I can sense that the person I’m speaking with WANTS me to take control because they feel awkward or passive, just to drive the conversation back on course (while secretly hoping they start talking and taking control of the conversation the entire time. XD). But I gotta tell you that one skill that I’ve honed to perfection is holding my ground in a conversation. Years of being sexually harassed as a massage therapist was actually great training… Read more »
Chris Minchella
Chris Minchella
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest problem is keeping a conversation going when I don’t have a pretext for conversation other than wanting to talk to someone. Example: My friend is getting his masters and so I’ll occasionally go down to his university to hang out. Inevitably, there’s a party we end up going to which is all his colleagues as well as an assortment of random grad students. I’m not in grad school, my undergraduate degree is not in the same field as these people, and I have a girlfriend so I can’t just default to meaningless flirting (although sometimes I’ll try this… Read more »
Brent
Brent
3 years 8 months ago

I tend to interrupt people in a group setting. I was at a dinner at a friend’s house the other day, and someone was giving her opinion on a couple dating each other. I completely agreed with her so much that I couldn’t wait for her to finish to say just how much I agreed.

Mark
Mark
3 years 8 months ago
After reading your newsletter for a while now, I thought this is the time to write a comment. I find the social thingy really intriguing, but also really scary. My biggest social weakness must be that I’m not as self-confident as I tend to look. As a child I was being raised by my father from the age of 13 and he never told me that I did something better than he expected. As a result, I did my best to make and impress friends at school and finding appreciaton that I did not get at home. At first I… Read more »
Gordon
Gordon
3 years 8 months ago
I love the sobering self assessment promoted by these questions. I love social interactions and testing out different Q&A’s for different social situations. I worked in clubs for a while and found that asking a ridiculously random and not necessarily deep question like “hey, can i ask you something?…what size of shoe are you?” or comment on some part of a girls outfit that was more discreet would often get you a very clear reaction of this guy is different and interested in me. I would try these types of scripts again and again just for fun with no other… Read more »
Mia
Mia
3 years 8 months ago
1. A STORY: I have a friend who is a pharmacist and the manager of a big chain pharmacy branch. Every year during flu season, vaccines makes pharmacies some serious money. So a little while back, there was a fire at my friend’s pharmacy. After everyone had been evacuated, my friend realized they’d left flu vaccines inside and actually ran *back into the burning building* to get the vaccines. 2. REACTION: I told this story in a meeting with my manager, her manager, and several other people above me–everyone cracked up. This story came up in the context of a… Read more »
Jeannine Thompson
Jeannine Thompson
3 years 8 months ago

Suppose I were in conversation with the example guy in your video, the guy who basically writes tooltips for WoW. Because I am not skilled at either advancing or ending conversations I would be trapped listening about his job for at least 40 min. I would never want to talk to him again for fear of having to hear about WoW time after time and he would not want to speak to me again because he was tired if talking about it. I trap myself in one topic conversations and then have trouble shifting gears or moving on.

Simi
Simi
3 years 8 months ago
Ooh, I love this post! Unfortunately, I have a whole host of social skills issues. My dream is to become a social butterfly like my sister–she has this magnetism without realizing it. However, until recently, I thought it would remain a dream, as I was always told that you are either born social or not. One of my many issues is how I come across to people. A few people have told me that I come across as cold, stuck-up, rude, and even female-doggish. That’s mainly because my conversational skills are lacking. I don’t know what to say at all,… Read more »
Simi
Simi
3 years 8 months ago

I forgot to mention how people react to me (normally and when I tell these stories). Many times people react by giving me an incredulous look and ending the conversation abruptly. When I tell these stories to friends, siblings, people I am marginally acquainted with, they give me a “well, it’s to be expected” look and laugh. My friends and family have given up on expecting anything different from me…it’s kind of sad, actually.

Sonia
Sonia
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is lack of structure or point which is ironic, since I need to be so detailed in my professional life. Or perhaps it is due to the extreme detailed required at work that I fail miserably. By “lack of structure or point”, I mean that when I start a story, I have a gazillion details that come to mind, some important, some not, and I can get lost in the details and actually forget the main story I was trying to tell or latch on to a detail that has no… Read more »
Matt David
Matt David
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve been making changes to the way I interact with people for a couple of years, so I’m A LOT better than I used to be, but I still get hung up on not being memorable or interesting. One of the most embarrassing and frustrating stories I have is about the time I went to see a variety show in Washington D.C. My girlfriend was performing in the show and our other friend was there to record her performance. When we got to the place there was another videographer there, so him and my friend chat all night. This guy… Read more »
JV
JV
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My biggest weakness is it’s challenging for me to keep a conversation flowing. I can easily blame me having English as a second language, but I know you’ll say that it’s more than that. People actually in the past have said that they wouldn’t know that until I told them about it. So, what’s wrong? I don’t know but here’s a story about this weakness that I have: A few years ago, I went to this meetup in Chicago hosted by this cool guy who writes a blog about finance and psychology: let’s call that guy “Ramit.” I… Read more »
Silvio
Silvio
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness if it comes to social interactions is that i’m to proud of my way of thinking things through. As a philosopher that’s what i do every day, but most people do not really care and even if they pretend to understand, they do not and get bored. In other words, i seem arrogant, but that was never my intention. I’d like to tell people about philosophy in a funny way everybody does understand. It could lead to ask the person questions like “Have you ever spent to much time thinking?” That’s really what i would like, talk… Read more »
chiraj
chiraj
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I have not yet gotten good enough at socializing such that it comes naturally. It still requires energy and sometimes I find that I a) either avoid socializing to conserve energy and/or b) become truly exhausted after socializing that it seeps into my productivity in other things. To combat this, whenever I do have the energy to do so, I try to engage people in small talk. The problem, of course, is that my energy doesn’t always correlate with cocktail parties and/or professional meetings. I have tested different ways to conserve energy before such meetings… Read more »
Yvonne
Yvonne
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is keeping an interaction going beyond the superficial stuff (name, weather,…). I often say hello and ask a couple of questions, then all of a sudden there’s an awkward silence. I don’t always follow-up or reflect on what the other person is saying. I usually think too hard and later on I’m thinking of all the smart things I could’ve said =) I also don’t smile very much these days due to feeling self-conscious about my teeth (braces). I even avoided eating in public for a while. At events, I’m usually waiting for others to approach me… Read more »
Greg
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit Thank you for posting the video and congrats on your success. I was introduced to you via a Tim Ferris posting and I appreciate the words of wisdom you pass along to those of us on your list. I am interested in being chosen for the media training and believe I would be a great case study for you. My career has predominantly been spent engaged in sales and marketing roles with tech and media companies. I ran a small agency and worked for a Fortune 50 company creating consumer focused programs to acquire new clients. Having found… Read more »
Roy
Roy
3 years 8 months ago

Hi Ramit,

I’m a teacher whose lack of social skills seems to bore the hell out of my students. I have a tendency to do the same with people I talk with, and many people have commented how unexcited I am about anything.

I blame my lack of intonation and monotone voice. I pretend to act excited by raising my voice and trying to alternate my pitch but have seen very little improvement.

It was nice chatting with you, but I have to go talk to my friends from out of town.

SP
SP
3 years 8 months ago
My weakness is not knowing what to say to high-level or high-profile people. I’m concerned that I’ll be an annoyance in a social situation when so many others may be fawning all over them, but even when I’m “on the job” I’m not sure how to walk the line between professionalism and being sociable. It’s especially difficult when I only have one or two minutes with the person. In one case I was talking to someone in what I thought was a nice conversation and her “handler” stepped between us and kept her back to me. The person I was… Read more »
CR
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I can make a group of people disband within a minute. I started a new consulting company a year and a half ago and I have been going to a lot of networking events. When I attend these events I tend to walk up to a group of people who are already engaged in conversation and politely join the conversation. Within a minute of joining the other participants have awkwardly dispersed and I am left talking to one person and I always feel as if I am the one that caused it. I am not… Read more »
Carl
Carl
3 years 8 months ago
Hands down, my biggest problem is not the technical “what do i say” or “how do i transition from Y to Z?”, it’s more related to how to speed up the learning process. How do I get myself to actually do the things that are required to excel, even though it’s hard and filled with anxiety. For example; I know I could rapidly increase my social skills by doing cold approaches. It’s truly something I want to do and I understand that by not doing it, my life won’t look the way I want it to in 10 years time.… Read more »
Allen M
Allen M
3 years 8 months ago

I struggle to maintain eye contact.

Joseph
Joseph
3 years 8 months ago
I have a broad weakness and a couple conversational weaknesses that come to mind. On a broad scale, about a year and a half ago I was let go from my 9-5 and set off on making my own way – I have my own business now but it’s just me, I work out of my apartment and my brain is wrapped around it 24/7. My biggest problem here is that right now business is all I do, and I work by myself all day – so finding people I can connect with has become a serious challenge (also, when… Read more »
Ken
Ken
3 years 8 months ago
This happened this past weekend chatting with a woman before a group meetup. We’re talking (about her), and get onto a thread of conversation that dead-ends after a few minutes. She seems kind of shy and wasn’t very talkative. This happens to me frequently — with men and women I’ve just met. We get past introductions and start talking about his/her life and interests, and the interaction gets shorter and shorter. This is after 1 or 2 deeper questions, not 6 or 7 down the line. Watching the video today, I have some new approaches to test: making a comment… Read more »
Swaroop
Swaroop
3 years 8 months ago

Hi Ramit,

I’ve had various different issues with social skills. Before, I was too afraid to start conversations with strangers so I went to the mall and used the same icebreaker 30 times. So that fear is gone. The biggest sticking point I have now is that I’m able to think of the right thing to say. Except it always comes to mind 20 seconds too late. In other words, I’d like to learn how to get out of my head and be more aware of what the other person feels.

Swaroop

Bill
Bill
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness – starting a conversation with someone I’ve never met. If someone approaches me I can usually find things to say even if they may not be perfect or steer the conversation in the direction I’d like. If I’m the one starting the conversation it seems like my brain likes to take a little trip through every worst case scenario that could happen. By the time I approach someone, IF THAT EVEN HAPPENS, I’m either mentally exhausted and want it to end faster than it begins or I’m terrified I will live out one of those scenarios I just… Read more »
Simon
Simon
3 years 8 months ago
My wife makes fun of me cos a lot of the time I tell stories that have no point. She is like ‘is that another of your stories with no point?’ I didn’t realise I was doing this till she pointed it out to me and now it is a joke between us, but also in a wider social setting, we use to lighten the mood and make people laugh. I guess this has been an issue when meeting people at events that my stories would fall flat and they would smile politely and want to move on to someone… Read more »
Chris Collins
Chris Collins
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is monopolizing a conversation. I just can’t stop talking. Every comment they make, I turn into an opportunity to talk about myself. Even when I purposefully ask THEM a question about themselves, I hear their answer and then immediately launch into what I would have answered to the question. At the end of conversations, I can assume that they learned a great deal about me, but if you were to ask me what I learned about THEM? I’d have no answers. Just last week I was in a conversation with former co-workers (we work in Television) and… Read more »
Catherine C
3 years 8 months ago
My greatest social skills challenge is that, although I’m really good at asking people questions and making statements about what other people say, I feel weird about making statements about myself. When I do, I feel like others aren’t really interested in what I have to say. I’m not self-conscious, I just feel that when I get others to speak about themselves, I cannot talk about myself, and so I don’t. I keep the focus on them, which is great because I get liked for being so interested in others. So although I’m liked, I don’t feel like I’m memorable… Read more »
Andrew Richardson
3 years 8 months ago
I feel like I am constantly second guessing myself when it comes to starting small talk. I know how to do it but I always seem to convince myself that I’m being inauthentic when I pull a script like “So what is it that you do?”. I have a huge fear of being “unoriginal” which I know hinders my effectiveness, though I never realized till now that it also hinders my social skills, but I still feel like I have to ask something original to make an impact on the person I’m talking with. Even on a bus when I… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago

My main problem is self-consciousness–I can’t just talk with someone naturally, but instead, a few minutes into the conversation, I start thinking about the conversation and how great (or terrible) it is. I really like talking to people, but this extreme self-consciousness really gets in the way of engaging: it’s hard to pay attention to someone when you’re preoccupied with how well (or poorly) you’re paying attention to them!

Thanks Ramit!

Michelle
3 years 8 months ago
I tell lots of little stories based on my past experiences and my slightly out-there family and friends. This is one I told to a coworker the other day while learning new software: Coworker: Don’t worry, as long as you don’t hit save, you can play around with this file as much as you want. Me: Haha, will do. I’m just always hesitant with new programs because when we got our first computer my sister managed to delete half of Windows 95 in about 3 keystrokes. We’re still not sure how she did it to this day, and thankfully she’s… Read more »
Maya
Maya
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social issue is that sometimes I get really into telling a story and don’t catch those social cues that say “yeah, I’m kinda done listening.” Like the story you told about the guy who monopolized your time, I find that I want to say “wait, here’s one more thing that’s really important” when the other person is done. I’ getting better at catching it but could use more. My husband would also tell you that my story toolkit gets a bit monotonous. (I feel as long as he’s the only one who’s heard it 10x I’m good.) As… Read more »
Dustin
Dustin
3 years 8 months ago
My problem is starting the conversation. I end up being the guy checking his phone to look “busy”. Once the conversation starts, I tend to do well at keeping it going (by having a genuine interest in the person I am speaking with.) I have an interest in photography, and occasionally my semi-color blindness comes up (color is important in this field.) Usually this will lead to me talking about my first car. I drove it for three years. Wonderful, red Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. One day it died, and I had to sell it. There were some issues thata rose… Read more »
Joseph
Joseph
3 years 8 months ago
I’m pretty sure I have talked myself out of potential jobs because of my lack of social grace (I’m probably talking myself out of this trip to New York). One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to social skills is that I may tend to make people uncomfortable. I have been told that I am very blunt and a little too frank and honest for my own good. I do not like to beat around the bush; I’m a straight to the point kind of person. This frankness coupled with my lack of smiling affects me in a negative… Read more »
Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I’ve made a lot of progress over the years with my social skills, it certainly is scary testing new materials and methods but once you realise that what you’re already doing is so wrong and it can’t get much worse, that makes it easier to let go of the old broken methods! My biggest weakness at the moment is story telling. I’ve realised that in group situations, story telling is a MUST. One on one, it’s a lot easier to get by with inquisitiveness and active listening (what you described in the video – feeding back what the… Read more »
Chelsea
Chelsea
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, There are a lot of challenges I confront in the realm of socializing, but the one that comes to mind is what I dealt with just yesterday. I was talking to someone about a house on the market, and he kept interrupting me midway to describe in length the potential issues with really minute, irrelevant things. I got to the point where, by the time I realized he was talking about something that had completely lost my interest, and for far too long, I suddenly was left without the energy to even redirect the conversation to what I originally… Read more »
Marisol
Marisol
3 years 8 months ago
Hey! Great post! I wish you had posted this on Friday because I would have given it a good use during the weekend. Now, I’ll just have to wait. I think my biggest problem with my social skills is that I don’t follow up, I mean, I can meet someone new and have a nice conversation, share some good laughs, and end that conversation on good terms. But whenever I meet that person again, I just don’t know what to do, I become totally awkward, should I say hi?, should I wait for him/her to say hi?, should I talk… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Yes, men do talk too much about themselves. I went on a date recently and the guy WOULD NOT SHUT UP! Out of the three hours we sat together over a drink (yes one drink that took three hours of my life away), I was able to get in maybe five sentences. At one point he even made the vague statement of “oh, excuse me, I’ve been talking to much about myself. Tell me about you.” And of course right when I say where I’m from, he begins ranting again about how much he loves that city and… Read more »
Jessica H.
Jessica H.
3 years 8 months ago

I’ve had that problem of not being able to answer that type of question. I usually say “As long as you know” and keep going.

Bradley
Bradley
3 years 8 months ago

My main social weakness is that I’m afraid of going and meeting new people, because I feel that I have to be extremely interesting, engaging, and original, every single time — it’s this crippling invisible script of everything-or-nothing, which prevents me from meeting lots of people.

Jill
Jill
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is rambling on/magically making stories uninteresting. I’m not sure if it has to do with too much detail or not enough expression on my part (or both!) Sometimes while telling a story, I notice others’ attentions wandering. It turns “this ridiculous thing that happened” into a “well, you had to be there” kind of story. Ugh! I’ve tried two remedies: (1) altering the volume of my voice to catch the person’s attention again, and (2) wrapping up the story very quickly once I notice this happening, and then following up with a question about the other… Read more »
Rizwan Peera
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness by far has to be inconsistency. I get into these grooves sort of like an actor playing a part. I take myself out of the situation and sort of let myself act and react without any hesitation. And most of the time it works fairly well, I’m engaged, able to mingle, and can confidently say that I impress a good amount of people that I have the pleasure of interacting with at that point. But then there’s the other side of me, which I’m sad to say takes over at the most inconvenient times. I’m the wallflower,… Read more »
Sonia
Sonia
3 years 8 months ago
“* We don’t talk to that girl (guy) at the bar, then kick ourselves later. Add this up over years and we end up getting our “second pick” of partners — not the ones we WANT, but the ones who are convenient or left over.” — I am currently single and 40 yo. While that statement hit hard, as it is true, it is also an incentive to hone those social skills. I’m sure there are a few great, but socially “inept” (harsh, I know) men in my area. I had the experience last month of meeting this random guy… Read more »
Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 8 months ago
I have a very analytical mind. My first instinct when I meet someone is to observe them until I get a good ‘feel’ for the person so that I have an idea of how to respond to and interact with them. This typically leads to very short conversations because the other person looses interest in talking to me before I feel comfortable engaging in the exchange. Additionally, I have trouble thinking of topics for small talk when I meet new people professionally. I am a young, single female working in a male dominated field where I find conversations typically revolve… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is starting the conversation in a way I’m comfortable with. Growing up, I was very reserved, all the way through high school and beyond. It did get better in high school, as then I learned how to loosen up, forget what people might think of me, and embrace my joke-telling side. It’s not appropriate in all situations, true, but it does help me grow confident as I talk. I’ve come to notice that once I’ve got momentum, it’s easy to handle a conversation, it’s just that initial jump that’s the hardest. In my mind, I know there’s… Read more »
Matto
Matto
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Thanks very much for the video – I really enjoyed it. The deconstruction of your TV interview was amazingly insightful. My biggest challenge is keeping a conversation going when I feel I’ve got nothing in common with who I’m talking to. I’m not a quick thinker, and I struggle to guide a conversation when I know nothing about the other person. It ends up with me asking (what I know are) the same questions everyone else asks, and the other person looking at me like I’m an idiot. Example – I like to talk to people outside my… Read more »
Lindy Johnson
Lindy Johnson
3 years 8 months ago
I’m pretty good at small talk because I am genuinely interested in listening to what people have to say, but my storytelling skills suck. I am a fairly competent writer (I’m a PhD student going on the job market soon), but when it comes to telling stories in person, the pacing is off, or I forget the punchline. When I was back home visiting some friends over the holidays, many of them asked me “how’s school going?” I just said, “pretty good.” Even though I had some pretty interesting stories to tell, I couldn’t really think of any on the… Read more »
R. L.
R. L.
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for sharing this valuable video. I’m going to listen to it until the strategies you’ve shared become second nature. And yes, I’m in dire need of help. Mind you, I’ve got the *listening* part handled. I can make the kookiest kook believe I’m fascinated by his unintentionally-hilarious theology stylings. I can convincingly feign rapt attention while my mother-in-law prattles on about what Bobbie Ray said about Billie Sue talking about how Tammy Jo said she was insulted by what Joe Bob said to Sally Ann . . . Listening. It’s my superpower. Instead of keeling over dead from boredom,… Read more »
Mike
Mike
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Once more, very thought provoking material! I do not consider my self a weirdo type, however it appears that I am only able to thrive when I am drunk (go figure) or when I do not really care about the situation. This makes it really weird: If in the room there is someone I want to meet for whichever reason, I will be completely blocked (which sucks btw). On top of that it appears that I have some kind of limitation on the closing part: I am never memorable enough, nor do I get a ton of follow… Read more »
Najeeb
Najeeb
3 years 8 months ago

My main social weakness is to have people engaged in the conversation. It is trying to get to the level that Bill Clinton has of having people being engaged and making them feel like your the one being talked to in the midst of a 1000 person audience. Doing this can have an unsurmountable benefit as it is the core of any conversation.

Van Nguyen
Van Nguyen
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest hurdle with social skills is my storytelling. You know that “cool story bro” meme? Yea, happens to me almost every time. I like to think I’m decent in starting conversations and making small talk, but I can never get past that. I want something more rich when I talk to people at a bar, an event, or even in the halls. I don’t want to just ask them where they’re from or what brought them here. So I’ll try to tell a story about this hilarious thing that happened to me, or something I saw, or this stupid… Read more »
Tarek
3 years 8 months ago
As a musician, your point about comedians and testing stories is very relevant to what I do. This is an area I definitely need to work on — my biggest weakness is not just being confident, but EFFECTIVE in my storytelling. This is not an issue in everyday socializing as much as it is when playing shows and networking with others in the industry. I’ve been to several music conferences over the past year, and at each one, there were a good number of well-known names in the industry who attended. At the most recent conference this past October, I… Read more »
Kate
Kate
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is that I avoid being vulnerable or telling stories of me doing normal, human, but embarrassing things. I can be self-deprecating, but I really hesitate to share personal stuff. (I know it’s a problem because, consistently, for YEARS now, I’ve been described by coworkers as “incredibly smart.” From my research, in my industry, this is code for “she is so competent that I’m afraid she’ll take all our jobs.” Clearly I need to work on sending a message that I’m a friendly, regular person and no one to be afraid of.) My current fix for this… Read more »
Zack Comet
Zack Comet
3 years 8 months ago
I decided to go to the mall today (during the day) to find someone to test one of my stories on. While I was there, I saw my high school-aged cousin (clearly and admittedly skipping school). During my conversation with him and his friend one of my stories came up. It was interesting to see the variety of different punchlines and jokes within one story. I was telling him about a time that my friends and I (about 8 guys) went snowboarding in New York. The night before we went, we discovered an incredible sale on bright pink and highly… Read more »
Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years 8 months ago
My social weakness is pure fear – I literally lock up when I try to talk to new people. It feels like my tongue has grown to be somehow even bigger than my mouth and all I can do is salivate. It’s very frustrating. If that wasn’t bad enough, when I finally force myself to open my mouth, my mind goes completely blank. I don’t want to bother anyone and even if I know that everyone at the event is there to meet other people, I’ve never figured out why they’d want to meet me rather than anyone else there.… Read more »
Tiffany Martin
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social problem is a pretty common one, but it really is a problem for me! I talk too long, and I don’t know when to stop. I watch listener’s faces glaze over, and see them tuning out, so I feel like “ah, I just have to re-engage them!” which leads to more talking! Of course, the best I could do is to just SHUT UP but I don’t know how to stop after I’ve gone so far, and save face. I’ve tried being aware of how much I’ve said, and to think carefully about what to say so… Read more »
Benjamin
Benjamin
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest problem is keeping the conversation going, whether I’m doing the questioning or answering. When I do the questioning, after I get a response, I can never think of a statement or comment to make that can keep the flow of the conversation going in one particular direction. I end up asking questions all over the place, without ever hitting on a particular topic of interest, and then leaving the conversation as quickly as possible. When I do the answering, I usually answer using as few words as possible. This tends to leave the person I’m talking to with… Read more »
Josh
3 years 8 months ago
I’m socially inconsistent. Sometimes at networking events, I feel like everything is falling into place, that I’m knocking it out of the park, and that I’m leaving people feeling engaged, valued, and enriched. Other times (more often than not), I don’t look people in the eye when talking to them, I stumble along and make awkward transitions, and never get to reach the people I had attended the event to connect with! The fix for this (in my mind) is using the daily interactions I have with people I see constantly. Family, daily coworkers, friends…Treating the conversation with them like… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
3 years 8 months ago
As a former waiter for almost six years, I have talked to thousands upon thousands of people. I have also spoken in front of audiences ranging from a few to a few thousand. But, for some reason, I blank when I interact with people in social settings, resulting in a plethora of awkward silences. I think it’s because my day-to-day experience has gotten pretty routine and doesn’t involve a lot of adventure or really anything outside of work, exercise, and relaxing at home. As a result, I don’t feel like I have a good breadth of topics to discuss. I… Read more »
Alyssa
3 years 8 months ago
I read your post this morning and tried out a story on my patient this afternoon. They had previously asked me if the side effects of their acupuncture treatment were normal. I told a story about when I was an intern I didn’t realize the intense response my patient would experience from treatment and how I thought I had done something really wrong to them and completely screwed them up. This story made my patient laugh and put her at ease. Success! My biggest weakness when it comes to social skills is the giggles. Ugh. It’s so annoying to myself.… Read more »
Joe Tufano
Joe Tufano
3 years 8 months ago

So I’m at work today and the mechanic is in talking to my boss and my boss asks him if he can fix this compressor and the mechanic goes ‘I can fix anything’ so I butt in and am like ‘can you fix a broken heart’… they both kind of stared at me for 5 seconds then went back to their conversation.

Stephen Frianeza
Stephen Frianeza
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is that I tend to come off as either bored, unhappy, or just too quiet/reserved when I first meet people. One summer I got an internship at Boeing, only to be let go around two thirds of the way through because some of the higher ups thought I wasn’t interested. I actually was genuinely interested but I was unable to get that to come across to them. Now I am scared that this will cost me future jobs, internships, networking opportunities or even just friendships. I found out after about a month at college that in… Read more »
Jesus M
3 years 8 months ago
One of my weakness is to think and re-think about having a conversation with a potential customer and never go and actually talk to him/her because of the fear of the lack of interest in the other person or maybe he/she will discriminate me for my clothing or my aspect. What I try to do is having that conversation with other minor potential customers and the result is good. Another one is when someone who does not know what my start-up does I hesitate or think to much the response (I want to sound to technical but not so generic,… Read more »
Jesus M
3 years 8 months ago

BTW as a cultural breviary, your name spelled backwards in spanish language means “scam” ( timar, http://translate.google.com/#es/en/timar ).

Veronic
Veronic
3 years 8 months ago
My problem is that when I actually start talking I just spew out everything that comes into my mind without properly organizing it first and basically just makes no sense. I often get people that look confused or even just stare at me blankly or look at me like I’m stupid. I try to rephrase things and just make things worse so then I just lose them in the process. I’m trying to think of a specific example but I don’t really have one. However, I know that this happens a lot when I’m trying to explain something more complex… Read more »
Jonathan L
Jonathan L
3 years 8 months ago
My weakness is not being “present” during conversations and consequently, having rapid thoughts run through my head thinking about what to say next, how to answer and worse, doing the whole scan-the-room cuz I’m already thinking ahead and wanting to meet the next person! So I’m working on being more mindful of “less is more” (and not worried about accumulating volume of contacts), forcing myself to actively listen to the other person by learning about what they do, what projects they have, what needs they may have. That way I’m more present and I can make a meaningful connection with… Read more »
Suzette
Suzette
3 years 8 months ago

Im glad Im pretty socially skilled. I moved every few years through childhood and you would be surprised you really need to learn to adapt to new situations.
I developed this thing using a lot of facial expressions. But now that Im getting older, those facial expressions are not as attractive haha so Ive now adapted to express my self with my tone and calmed down the facial movements. Can you say botox!

Doron Greenspan
Doron Greenspan
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge socially is finding common ground to relate with other people on a deep level – to really connect. I attribute this to the years I spent in all male religious schools. All of my social scripts are based around my formative experiences and I’ve found it difficult to break out of my shell in conversation to find the vulnerabilities and common experiences that I think will help me relate to others. By nature I’m an extrovert and in the right social settings I can work the room and tap into some deep inner confidence, but the ‘right’… Read more »
maja szymczyk
3 years 8 months ago
It may seem like boasting but i actually often find myself on the opposite end of the problem: i.e. so many people want to talk to me ( i love travelling and i am always curious about anything and anyone and am happy and lucky to have friends and stories from all over!:) and expect me to be this famous funny storytelling Maja i have always been (e.g. with my family: maja the entertainer) but some days,the older i get, the more i want to just be quiet and observe and listen…. I do the entertaining bit out of –… Read more »
Paul
3 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the tips Ramit

As far as social skills – I literally have a brain freeze when ever I interact with anyone. I can know a person for 10 years and get into conversation and forget their name and I spend the next 10 minutes trying to remember their name and don’t listen to what they are saying.

So my lack of social skills are the result of a mind that won’t work or is off being self-absorbed rather than listening

Allison
Allison
3 years 8 months ago
Occasionally I will find myself in a situation where I should be leading by example, but it becomes a struggle. I work in the luxury goods industry and sometimes interact with high profile designers, executives, and celebrities. Before a meeting, I remind myself that everyone in the room has something in common: we are all just normal people. That realization really helps keep nerves at bay. However I’ve been in a few instances where I unexpectedly run into a celebrity I have met in a work setting while I am out in a social setting with someone else, and the… Read more »
Alex
Alex
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness is approaching groups. Usually, I’ll want to approach a group of girls, but can’t think of how. I like hanging out with the group of people that I am with, but would also like to work on being more social.

I have tried to watch others to see how they do it ad I usually find that they don’t. And if they do, they might be drunk. Neither option seems too appealing. Any recommendations?

Sameer
Sameer
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I’m working on my story. But while I think most of your advice above is on point, I think your answer to the first objection really doesn’t address the issue: “Ugh, I don’t want to be one of those douchebags and start changing the way I dress and how I talk. They should like me for who I am.” Ironically, the people who use this excuse do not want to change, yet are often highly judgmental themselves.” I’ve come across a number of people who have this objection, and insulting them by calling them judgmental… doesn’t quite seem to… Read more »
Allyn Jacobs
3 years 8 months ago
OK, storybox. We were at the previously mentioned lifestyle event, and we use a story that’s been in our storybox previously. The short short version, my girlfriend’s son, raids our bedroom, and gets into the “toys” and then has also destroyed some very expensive ones. The story has been honed a bit, to focus on some of the more detailed highlights that work great in that crowd. It gets some great laughs and some interaction from the people listening to the stories asking either follow up questions, or providing some engaging feedback, that showed they were paying attention to our… Read more »
Chuck
Chuck
3 years 8 months ago
I want to improve on recognizing visual cues that tell me to either wrap up a what I’m saying or keep it going. I have several stories that are reduced to one-line teasers on my resume and bio sheet. They are there to generate interest and encourage potential clients to ask “Can you tell me more about X?” This morning, while pitching my new consulting business to a potential client, one of my stories got teed up. It dealt with a service that I had just learned was 25% of the potential client’s billings, but due to lack of staff,… Read more »
Desi
Desi
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness would probably have to be my over-animating conversations. I find my voice becomes monotone when telling stories (even if they’re not long) and if I notice it I think I try to compensate by waving my hands everywhere and I have a feeling my facial features are just completely abnormal. The problem is I can’t even try recording myself because it only seems to happen when I’m on a roll. I ramble all the time around people I know, but when it comes to people I’m meeting the first time or job interviews, I flop unless I… Read more »
Steven
Steven
3 years 8 months ago
Hello there! My biggest weakness would definitely be my story telling. More often then not I’ll tell some very big or meaningful story about my life. I can somewhat have people engaged while I am telling the story but afterwards I get no response or if I do it’s: “Is that it?” And these are good stories. I know these are good because my best friend Ethan who is commonly part of these stories tells the stories himself, but the response he always gets afterwards is always some much better than I get. I just am not very good a… Read more »
Brock
Brock
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social problem: It’s not the typical “Not good at openers” or “Don’t know how to keep a conversation going.” I could definitely be better at those, but I’m not terrible and I have zero fear of meeting new people. My biggest problem is that there’s a monster inside me. His name is Socrates. Have you ever had a Socratic debate? Or, more precisely, had your personal opinions thoroughly ripped apart and examined in a Socratic manner? That’s me. Or at least a part of me, just waiting for the right trigger. You see, I LOVE Socratc debate. I… Read more »
Jillian
Jillian
3 years 8 months ago

I hear hemlock fixes that problem for good. Just kidding!

Leo
Leo
3 years 8 months ago
Hey, Ramit. My biggest weakness actually has to do with everyday conversation that happens with a lot of people. I notice it the most when I’m talking with my immediate supervisor. No matter the subject, my answer to almost everything explained to me is “Oh, okay.” We could be talking about a hurricane thirty years ago that affected where he used to live, or he could be teaching me about how to make a certain dish better during plating. Whatever the subject, I keep saying “Oh, okay.” Just a flat line that more often than not, either makes the conversation… Read more »
Emily
Emily
3 years 8 months ago
I just stared my second week on the floor in the initial Transactions section of the federal credit union I just finished training at. A new position opened that is allowing anyone to apply for in a higher services position. Higher pay, and a chance for me to actually negotiate this time for my salary instead of just accepting like an idiot because it was a decent offer. (I know, I know…I wish I had read your material 2 months ago before that offer) lol Only problem is this position deals with a lot more problems, difficult technical details and… Read more »
Kirsten
Kirsten
3 years 8 months ago

One of the areas I struggle most with, in terms of social skills, is being self conscious and shy. I hate going to networking functions alone because I don’t want to be standing by myself, the only one not engaged in conversation. So when I do, I become nervous and hyper aware of my body language. In my head this inevitably turns into an awkwardly dry, anything-but-comedic sketch and the painful self commentary makes it easy to second guess myself and hard to start a conversation.

Jacob
Jacob
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is interacting with people in a group when there is an alpha-male present. I have no problems holding my own 1-1, in a group setting, males, females, or mixed, but if an alpha-male comes into the conversation and starts dominating the conversation, I have a hard time staying involved in the conversation. I’ve tested a few different methods, with varying degrees of success. One method I’ve tried is to try to “out-alpha” the alpha, although this normally ends poorly. I’m a smaller guy and not naturally very aggressive, so while I’m aiming to end up coming across… Read more »
Rick
Rick
3 years 8 months ago
I think my most damaging mindset regarding social skills before now is one you named in your video: “I don’t have to engage in small talk because I’m the kind of person that just gets right to the point.” I have this mindset with friends and strangers alike, and it prevents me from making real connections at times. One way this impacts me is with my girlfriend. There have been times in the past where she has called me and I’ll immediately answer the phone and say, “What?” instead of something normal like, “Hello.” I tend to do this when… Read more »
Tony
Tony
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social challenge is small group participation. I ca manage meeting people one on one in large social settings, but when I have the attention of a group focused on me I feel heart pounding with anxiety. My brain goes into flight response, I avoid eye contact with anyone and try as quick as possible to divert attention away from me. This often happens on clients calls at work when my boss asks me to weigh in on something. I’ve tried focusing on one person to speak to make it seem more one on one but sometimes that seems… Read more »
Tim
3 years 8 months ago
I consider myself an effective communicator and I’m someone that can start conversations with complete strangers. I wasn’t always good at it but got better practicing on customers, usually attractive women (in my single days), while working at Starbucks during University. I would test things like complementing different items (purse, glasses etc..) Usually commenting (not always complimenting) on something unusual that they were wearing that I sincerely liked or found interesting. My biggest weaknesses now are a combination of dominating conversations, focusing on myself more than the other person, and I’m told, being short with people whom I do not… Read more »
heather
3 years 8 months ago
You know, Ramit, the one social issue that I believe is hurting most right now is my inability to talk about my art. The issue can arise when I speak to curators, potential buyers and even friends. Typically, I can talk to any one person. I like banter. Other people’s lives interest me. People (strange people) have followed me home! Yikes. Once a person broaches the subject of my art, a part of me leaves the conversation and hides behind my mother’s fat leg. As a child, I used to employ this behavior during any formal introduction. When this happens,… Read more »
Steve
Steve
3 years 8 months ago

Hi Ramit,

My biggest social challenge is that I tend to follow the lead of the person to whom I am talking. For example, if the person I am talking to is full of positive energy, I will act and reciprocate in kind. But if the person is more introverted and quiet, I tend to act the same in their presence. I want to be and appear more energetic in some circumstaces when I know I am not receiving it from the other person.

mary cornell
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Thanks for doing this! Very helpful and I’m excited to see what else you have in store for us. It is a toss up between these. 1. I am so afraid to go to a social function by myself, because I have a tough time starting a conversations with stranger. Sometimes I will even avoid the event because of it. 2. I’m not a rambler at all – but I notice quite frequently I lose peoples attention while telling a story (even if it is short) and I don’t know why. It bothers me a lot. Thanks for… Read more »
Gerson
Gerson
3 years 8 months ago

I’m a bit of an introvert and English is not my mother tongue so I might be the victim of an invisible script preventing me from being more social.

CR
CR
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is an inability to come out of my world and truly interact with strangers. Just today, for example, I was talking to a lady before my yoga class because the instructor was late. I took kind of a big step for me and asked her how her weekend was, and she told me about going to see Zero Dark Thirty and going to a museum. Those are both solid starting points for a conversation! But I was so stuck in my head at hearing “Zero Dark Thirty,” a movie that I have already had a few… Read more »
Tim
Tim
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve always been conscious about social situations. In high school I was picked the prom king but couldn’t tell you much about the experience because I was in the bathroom puking my guts up. In freshman year of college, we had to take public speaking. The professor was a 4ft shrewd character who spoke perfect English. He chastised this poor girl the 1st day of class so bad that my hyper-reflexive gag kicked in and I started hacking right in class–I ran out and never returned–I still remember my friends laughing. I’ve regretted not going back to that class for… Read more »
Justin
Justin
3 years 8 months ago

For me, It’s easy to get going, but I tend to get too engaged. This shows up as talking too fast, skipping important points, and at the end of my conversations, I wonder if people understand what I was saying, or just agree because of my enthusiasm.

I’m speaking publicly more and more as my career advances, and my next step is practicing the skills to polish my delivery and make sure my message sticks.

Reema
Reema
3 years 8 months ago
The following is utterly true: 6:35am – Reema reads Monday’s post. 6:41am – Reema looks up and yonder into the semi-darkness and says out loud “I have no words. This sh*t is awesome.” Riddle me this, riddle me good, riddle me like you know you should: Why did the recovering alcoholic visit a bar, by herself, on a Friday night? Hint: It wasn’t because she was looking to engage in stimulating conversation. Well . . not in the literal, verbal sense, that is. She was there to flirt with disaster. And, poor woman, “disaster”, on that dark, stormy night, came… Read more »
Jillian
Jillian
3 years 8 months ago
Thank you so much for taking the time to contribute, Reema! I realised three years ago at 29 what you realised at 14. I’d always felt awkward and ugly and inferior but it suddenly dawned on me that this was not going to change unless I made the changes myself. So at 29 I decided to stop hiding and hoping nobody would notice me, and set myself the goal of “coming out in society” for my 30th birthday. Of course I wish the truth had hit me earlier, but on the plus side, I have the added advantage of DECADES… Read more »
Ling
Ling
3 years 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing that. It’s a beautiful post. I see that in your post those things which the women around me who inspire me, embody. 🙂

Homer
Homer
3 years 8 months ago
I started writing something that was going to get long and realize I wasn’t even talking about what’s really my biggest issue. I have trouble making sure that I’m not in the clouds or lost in some obscure literary reference. Seriously, I will quote a (relevant) line from poetry or drop a philosophical reference into the conversation and assume my point gets across and not even realize it didn’t until later. That’s on good days. It’s like I’m thinking and talking in wikipedia citations, except I’ve been doing this all my life, and I can count on one hand the… Read more »
Josh
Josh
3 years 8 months ago
My number one weakness is without a doubt my stutter. I do not always stutter but the more nervous or apprehensive I am then the more it is there. An example that I still hear about every now and then is where I lost a position on my football team for a special play we had because I could not say the name of the play clearly and concisely. As a result my self confidence is lowered in certain interactions. Speaking professionally or to a large group can be extremely nerve racking to me. I am towards the end of… Read more »
L
L
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest Weakness: Despite the fact that I have two X chromosomes, I do the typical guy thing – I tend to talk about myself to much. I also tend to listen with an ear towards providing a response from my own personal experience rather than really listening to what the other person is saying. Just acknowledging that I do this has made more more aware of it, so I keep it in mind when I am in a conversation now. Storytelling: The first time I went to a shooting range, I broke the gun. I went to the shooting range… Read more »
Jessica M Frey
Jessica M Frey
3 years 8 months ago
I was fortunate to grow up around my mother who is the family story teller. In fact, a project of mine I’ve been working on is transcribing and re-writing our family stories as told by her as she isn’t comfortable writing. One of my favorite stories to tell is about my mom. I tell it for several reasons: 1) It is a nice snap shot of my family, and people can usually relate to commonalities in family stories. 2) It is appropriate for work or social interactions. 3) It is a great way of explaining why I like working in… Read more »
Travis
Travis
3 years 8 months ago
When I go to social events by myself, I get very overwhelmed by the amount of people I do not know. As a result, I spend most of the time finding things to occupy my hands like food or beverages and then I pace up and down the party. I probably look a bit strange although I try to act cool as I avoid people. I know this does not make any sense that I would go to a social event to not engage with people. On the chance that I snap out of my self-inflicted torture, I still find… Read more »
Crystal
Crystal
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My greatest social challenge is my difficulty in speaking up in a group setting. Whether it’s at a professional event, in the classroom, at a bar, restaurant, or group interview, I struggle to contribute to the conversation unless someone specifically asks for my opinion. This has especially hurt me in group job interviews, but it’s also obviously a huge disadvantage for a multitude of other reasons. I am improving my small talk skills in one-on-one situations, something I now enjoy, but I still feel hesitant to say anything when I am with more than a few people. Additionally,… Read more »
Alexandra
Alexandra
3 years 8 months ago
Great video – it has really made me think. I thought I didn’t have stories to tell until I started typing this, but I do have one that gets other people talking. It’s a story about how changing the routing settings on the GPS from fastest to shortest took me on a scary drive through somebody’s field – in Germany, in a bright red American tank (=Chevy Monte Carlo) that was too big to turn around on the one lane (not one lane each way, but one lane total, and no shoulder, just a ditch) road. I especially liked the… Read more »
Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years 8 months ago
To be honest, I think when it comes to social skills my biggest problem is that I think I’m boring! I do fairly well at the beginning of a conversation. I ask the other person questions, follow up with more questions, reflect what I’m hearing. But then when somebody asks something about ME, I kind of freeze. I mean, I’ll come up with an answer, but it the back of my head the script is running…. “I don’t have anything nearly as interesting to say as they do… They are going to think whatever I say is lame…. Blah Blah… Read more »
Maria
Maria
3 years 8 months ago
At one time or another I’ve been guilty of many of these attributes but I’m very, very guilty of the “I can only speak in one-tone regardless of how EXCITED I am” and the “let me give you all the little details because they seem plot-essential” weaknesses the most. Especially at business conferences but quite a bit in my social life as well. I’ve got a group of 5 girl friends who hang out quite a bit, and I can see my friends glazing over, tuning out, and hunting for something more interesting while I’m telling any story including hilarious… Read more »
Lucas
Lucas
3 years 8 months ago

Often I will be having a decent to good conversation with a person. When a third party drops in and takes the reins. After the third party leaves, I struggle to resume the conversation. Do I ask about what they were talking about or stick to what we were talking about before? I hesitate as the hesitation turns to a cessation.

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness in a social setting is not feeling confident enough that I will not be engaging enough to get past the first few sentences with the person I’m attempting to talk to. With the lack of self-confidence is the fear that I’ll forget what it is I had planned to say and, naturally, I do. I have been forcing myself to attend events with the explicit goal to mingle and meet new people but find that I seek out the few people that I know and chat with them in hopes that they’ll introduce me to new people,… Read more »
David
David
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is ending a conversation. I’m so bad at it, that my girlfriend even makes fun of me because I don’t even know how to end a conversation on the phone with my dad. I get stuck in this endless loop of being almost done a conversation and getting a clean exit (I see daylight!) and then I don’t know what happens and the conversation just keeps going. After trying to stop a half dozen times are so, the conversation just dies a slow and painful death. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it needs to… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, thanks for the posts. I’m proud to say I’ve learned most of the tactics during my own journey of becoming a social ninja. Here’s a little background info about me, I started my Bachelor studies in IT as a shy, socially oblivious nerd. I hardly left my room because I thought straight A’s alone would land me the job that would supply the money that would get me the power which would attract the girl of my dreams and then I could finally be happy. Boy, was I in for a surprise. After a friend and I decided… Read more »
Ben Weston
3 years 8 months ago
I find that I do well once I’m in a conversation. I tell the person that I’m a circus artist, they act surprised and ask me how I got into it, and then I open into an extremely well rehearsed and tested story about cute college girls asking me to lift them up. Conversation has fully commenced. However, my biggest challenge is in approaching someone new, especially a group. It’s at its worse when it comes to meeting women. I vowed to work on this, so for one month, once a week. I would go out into downtown Seattle and… Read more »
Mel
Mel
3 years 8 months ago
I would have to say I’m good at starting a conversation but can’t continue a conversation. If I were on a TV show, you would hear crickets when I meet someone for the first time and desperately try to continue the convo. I’ve been in many situations where I’m struggling to speak to new people and I’ve had many bad conversations, so many that I’ve probably blocked them out of my memory. I’m also terrible at telling stories and picking the wrong stories to tell. My husband thinks it’s cute but it’s not cute when you hear crickets. One story… Read more »
Linda Giella
Linda Giella
3 years 8 months ago
I consider myself super smart. I research thoroughly and analyze deeply the many subjects that interest me. When I’m one-on-one with a trusted friend, I can be articulate and persuasive. But in a group, or in a professional meeting with new people, I defer to others and start mumbling when I need to speak. I’m screaming inside with the answers and information that the others are seeking but seem to lack the confidence to put it out there loudly and be the focus of attention. I have a friend whose voice is like honey – she won the state storytelling… Read more »
Alex
Alex
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I’m usually outgoing, but not necessarily confident. I know it sounds like those two ideas mean the same thing, but let me explain. I just recently started a job as a technical recruiter for a national staffing firm. The whole job is basically talking to people and building relationships and I’m a fairly outgoing person, so I have no problem saying hi or asking to talk to someone, but I’m so new that I’m still learning my industry and trying to deal with people who have more years of professional experience than I’ve been alive.… Read more »
Luke
Luke
3 years 8 months ago
It’s hard for me to pick one weakness, since I think of my social skills as about an inch above zero–I’m scared to talk to start conversations; people tend to zone out about one sentence into any story I tell; I feel awkward when I even start to think about making gestures or changing my intonation, so I do neither–but if I had to pinpoint something it would be that I make a flowchart in my head of what to say if this and if that, and then don’t know what to do when the other person goes off (my… Read more »
GKV
GKV
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness: I have trouble moving a conversation forward. Someone will say something that I know nothing about, and then dead silent will fall on the conversation. I want to respond with something and then move the conversation toward something that we are both interested in, but I’m not sure how to do that. I’ll definitely try your tactic from the video about changing the subject and using body language to shift the conversation. My story: (When someone asks me what I like about the city I live in) I’ve been volunteering doing taxes for low income families for… Read more »
Andres
Andres
3 years 8 months ago
My weaknesses are based around being very direct and needing to be prepared for interaction with others. Being direct: I feel that other don’t want me to waste their time with what I’m telling them, so i make every sentence as though it’s my last. Or at least as though it could end right here. Being prepared: I feel that unless i already know something (or everything) about a person, I won’t be able to find common ground and engage them in conversation. I’ve worked a lot on this one, and find that it’s getting easier to find that common… Read more »
Alain
Alain
3 years 8 months ago

I consider myself somewhat of an anomaly. I am 32-year-old male, And I am very confident talking to most women. My issue arises when I have to Carry on a conversation with a member of my own gender. Because of this I’ve never really had many really close male friends. Now that I’m married, Spending time one-on-one with my female friends seems unacceptable. I would like to learn how to talk to my colleagues and carry on conversation where I can feel funny, confident and find someone to just hang out with.

Andrew Olson
Andrew Olson
3 years 8 months ago
First of all, thanks for setting up this opportunity. Although the odds of me winning are slight, I feel that the process about me writing about my weaknesses and being honest with myself on where I am will propel me to learn more. Inevitably the question becomes, why am I worth the money that you worked hard to earn to send me to New York to improve my social skills? In my mind, your not looking for that this selected candidate will be taken from step A to step B or from step M to step N but you are… Read more »
Bryan Lemos
Bryan Lemos
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness is the DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS! Ahhh! It usually goes something like this “Great convo opener>great questions>big laughs (haha I got em)>puzzling questions from them>i’m stumped like a goon>Now my thoughts snowball about how I am a awkward person who can’t hang>dead silence as I stare DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS! AHHH! >convo over due to awkwardness.” I’ve even just hit that point in writing this comment….

Either way, great video! Thanks for helping!

Michael
Michael
3 years 8 months ago
Driving to the point. I’ve been getting better at it but still… Two stories: Really liked this girl but we never really had a chance to talk, I’d say hi, or raise my chin, that sort of thing. Then, one evening, in a bar, I asked her out to a movie. Or something. I think that was the exact quote “you want to see a movie or something?” She literally said “That’s not how you do it.” Did get better but now, professionally not so much. Was at an event (an art opening) and I was acquainted with the artist.… Read more »
ambra
ambra
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest weakness here is inconsistency. For example, I am pretty confident and make acquaintances easily by nature, but then something will surprise me. …like I went to a WordPress meetup when i moved to a new town, thinking it would be good for me (and not a bar situation…) I couldn’t wait to get out first just so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone! I feel like I used up my social skills allowance in my 20’s or something. Having my story toolbox to rely on at these times will be great.

Kathy
Kathy
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit,I think I’m naturally curious and sincerely interested in people but I am terrible at turning that into friendly, light conversation and genuine connection. I was raised by mid-western parents that squashed any conversation or exploration of topics that crossed into the area of that wasn’t considered appropriate which may be the root cause of my issues. Although I am not naturally bold, I am a pretty smart, fun-loving girl but I know that I step back from taking chances and come across as shy, timid and sometimes just plain unfriendly. I think it is a lot of self-consciousness and… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
3 years 8 months ago
So here’s what: I really want this media training, because I think that the ability to discern the right social mode for delivering my message is something that’s holding me back. I think that my biggest challenge is trying to be cute or funny at times when it is a distraction from what needs to get done. For instance, I recently attended a live taping of one of my favorite shows. When they took questions, I made my question take too long by trying to tack a joke on the front that was meant to display how familiar I was… Read more »
TP
TP
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, My biggest weaknesses are the following: 1. Being too accommodating to other speakers at my own expense. 2. Being unable to command attention for a sustained period of time (especially when in larger groups) I am good at reading other people’s emotions and going out of my way to make them feel comfortable, but this always backfires to the point where I can barely get a word in about myself! This has always been a problem for me, even with my closest friends. They love me for being a “good listener” but I really just end up feeling… Read more »
Paul
3 years 8 months ago

Uh, I think I might, umm, say too many, uhh. extraneous words. Umm, Actually, I uhh, know I do.

I don’t think my social skills are too bad. I do have trouble initiating small talk, but I have no problems carrying on a conversation once it has started.

I’m the guy playing on his phone to look busy, instead of going actively meeting people.

Vicki
Vicki
3 years 8 months ago

The video was great. I am speaking in front of a legal panel in a couple days and think the part about your TV appearance will be very helpful.

As far as the story, I did just a brief moment about my mother-in-law “enjoying” ill health while meeting with a lawyer this afternoon. He laughed and offered to send his assistance to get lunch for me. I guess that is a success.

Stacy
Stacy
3 years 8 months ago

Ok, my biggest social issue (besides being an introvert) is that I actually dislike the sound of my own voice. I don’t like hearing myself talk. I don’t think I’m that bad to talk to since I’ve spent the past few years in a job where I for new relationships with people often, I just dislike listening to myself and feel like other people don’t like listening to me either.

Amanda Wuenschel
Amanda Wuenschel
3 years 8 months ago
One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to social skills is what I lovingly refer to as “word vomit”. This happens when my brain thinks more quickly than I can talk, and I end up substituting a word or phrase that I am going to say for the word that I should say. I work register at my lovely restaurant, and this most commonly happens when I’ve been following my scripts all day, so I end up saying the entirely wrong phrase at the wrong time because I need caffeine. It always gets super awkward for at least a… Read more »
Kathleen
Kathleen
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, For my primary job, I interview professionals about their careers in healthcare almost every day. Not only has this habit spilled into my second job in retail (Hello, anyone in lab coats and scrubs!) but also into my social life. When meeting new people I tend to hang on to their work life for far too long, asking follow up question after follow up question. For people looking to unwind on the weekend, away from their 9-5, I think it’s the last thing they want to keep talking about. So, I need to stop using my “interview” persona… Read more »
EM
3 years 8 months ago
I have so many I don’t know where to start! I never feel like I’m dressed correctly for any event, social or professional. I can ramble on and I’m pretty clueless about body language and don’t get it when people might be getting bored. I used to work for a company where we had a lot of department meetings. People didn’t like it when I would ask a question or comment. It really affected my self-esteem and I didn’t get any promotions no matter how well I did at my job. I just never felt like I fit in. Now… Read more »
Jonathan Cohen
Jonathan Cohen
3 years 8 months ago
MY biggest obstacles is not having enough volume. I was at my companies holiday party last month and I was new to the company and wanted to make a good impression. I started out engaged but as the party got louder I had a hard time being heard as well as hearing. I got bored and ended up awkwardly hanging around groups of people pretending to be social. It was awful. I also felt afraid to truly let go and be myself aroundmy new ccoworkers. I watched them let go but felt uncomfortable doing so myself. I would love to… Read more »
Justin
Justin
3 years 8 months ago
One story I like to tell about my time living in Seoul is when I went to the international district to practice my German at a weekly meetup. This area has a high rate of prostitution, which, coupled with late drunken nights and too many languages, really makes this story. So I leave the bar at 2 AM and waiting for a cab on a busy corner when this lady wearing a red leather jacket and a leopard print skirt says something to me. I ask her what she said and she says “sex? sex?” So I’d just been speaking… Read more »
Larry
Larry
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness: I feel sometimes I am limited in the number of subjects I can talk about. I’ve learnt some tips to try to find leads (How do you know the host? What brought you to this city (if they are not from here), etc.). But sometimes I have a hard time finding a common thing to talk about, especially if it’s a subject outside my comfort zone. For instance, someone once tried to connect with me around sports (“did you watch the Olympics?”), but I shut him down by replying a flat out “no” as I almost… Read more »
Jillian
Jillian
3 years 8 months ago
I decided to test my assumption that I’d never win this prize because I live outside the US. For the record, I’d love an excuse to visit your beautiful country and would be happy to pay for my airfare to get there if I win! My biggest weakness in social interactions at the moment is that I often find myself just saying whatever comes to mind to fill in the gaps in the conversation. I’m a very honest, open person and I genuinely have good intentions and nothing to hide, but this often means that what I say doesn’t get… Read more »
Matthew Marshall
Matthew Marshall
3 years 8 months ago
What’s up Ramit! Great post! My biggest weakness in the social realm is definitely my fear of starting a conversation, having it go badly, and then being perceived as being socially inept. That fear then sometimes consumes my thoughts as I am in the conversation. So, not only do I think negatively, but I’m left with no good response to lead the conversation forward. I came to this conclusion a little before Thanksgiving and since then I’ve started a regular dinner party with friends. We all agree to bring someone no one knows (of course I got this idea from… Read more »
Zach H.
3 years 8 months ago
Serendipitously today provided the perfect example for this comment. I happened to run into an old acquaintance outside of the university’s cafeteria. We each had a few spare minutes before our next classes so of course usual conversation ensued, “hey how ya been?” “how are classes this semester?” etc, etc. Seemed to be a normal small talky conversation… But then he said something, and right now I don’t quite recall what it was, but it was clearly something he wanted some commiseration over, and I jumped in with an, “Oh yeeeaaaah.” My voice got real big, I gave him an… Read more »
Alicia
Alicia
3 years 8 months ago

As a girl, I hate to say this, but read some PUA technqiues of body-contact. I absolutely hate guys invading my space, but I know this works well for most guys.

I think you try too hard maybe. Maybe focus on what she’s saying, instead of what she thinks of you? The latter probably leads to you over-reacting.

Pete Springer
3 years 8 months ago

I get excited when talking to people about photography and models.

I’m a professional photographer, so that’s okay at work. But sometimes I have trouble transitioning to the regular world. Once I knocked over a drink in a bar because I was so excited talking about Heather Locklear. And I’ve never even worked with her!

Finding that transition from work related passion in conversation to the real world can be tricky. That and sometimes I (stupidly) bring up politics in conversations. I really need to work on that!

Justin Mares
3 years 8 months ago
I have a good story about getting my braces caught in a carpet when I was in 7th grade and having my mom cut me loose with scissors that usually does pretty well in social settings. I’ve found that talking about a time when I was an idiot (but not being self-conscious about it) generally works well to get people to open up about themselves. I told the story to a cashier at a Banana Republic while returning a purple sweater my sister got me and she laughed out loud. It was pretty cool actually, that was my first time… Read more »
Ashleigh
Ashleigh
3 years 8 months ago
Some may think that you have to have a “social life” in order to have social skills or weaknesses, but what they don’t realize is that if they interact at all with another person at any time during their day, they’re using their social skills. I’m the oldest of four children in my family; I don’t know if my parents realized it, but I was also raised to be the second mother to my three siblings. Before I hit puberty, I had a Mom “voice” and a Mom “look.” Of course, I never used either of those tools on my… Read more »
Andrea
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social skills problems are twofold: consistency & dead synapse syndrome. I know that I can be funny and engaging, and even charismatic. Just not consistently. Sometimes I’m on and sometimes I am so NOT. Worse than being off my game is when I am suddenly overcome with dead synapse syndrome. This is when I have not only have run out of small talk, but I can’t even get a synapse to *misfire*. Complete brain freeze, and I don’t mean the ice cream variety. I will be mid-small talk and run out of things to say and my mind… Read more »
Zach H.
3 years 8 months ago

Oh P.S. I wanted to use a video in my comment and completely forgot to put it in there! Anyways the clip from 2:50 to 3:00 should give you some idea of my predicament. (With the translator in the clip playing the part of my brain)

Zach H.
Zach H.
3 years 8 months ago

Can’t believe I did it again… here ya go http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvtXTvxTPF4

(Maybe this should be my weakness)

Will
Will
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Thanks for the video. In my view, it was effective because it was relevant for people on many different points on the social-skill continuum. Here’s a representative example of my biggest social weakness: getting dominated in a conversation that counts. –snip– I’m 21, meeting a prospective tenant for my first rental property who had responded to an ad in the paper (yeah, it was a while ago). We get a little way into talking about the property and I slowly started realizing that this guy is actually a real estate investor who wants to do some kind of… Read more »
Chris B. Behrens
Chris B. Behrens
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve done a number of technical speaking gigs, and I’ve actually had the benefit of some very frank feedback. Some of the speaker forms said that I was kind of professorial and condescending – which is easy to do suppose, from a techie point of view, where you’re trying to educate people. I’ve worked to adopt a more humble presentation, but I always keep this in mind. From a more social perspective, I think I have trouble with “second gear”. I have no trouble getting a conversation started, but, just like in the demo, conversations tend to die on the… Read more »
David
David
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is overcoming the feeling that I have no commonality with other people, which in turn makes me un easy in social situations. I was born and raised outside of the United States and currently live and work in the South in manufacturing plants. I cant seem to find commonality without faking it, I dont feel like I belong in the “club” of golf, hunting, fishing and boating. The odd thing is I really do want to connect with people on a friendly level and my profession depends on it. What I am doing right now to help… Read more »
Eric Chiang
Eric Chiang
3 years 8 months ago
I shared a story with my wife. The story is about my friend going through an interview for an ibanking role in Asia. Everything went quite smoothly until near the end. With 10 minutes left, the interviewer requested to switch to converse in Mandarin. Poor my friend, he was bilingual, but Mandarin just happen to be the third language he’s picking up. This story turned out to be more engaging than I thought could be. My wife was initially facing away from me and was working on some Photoshop design while I talked. When I mentioned the interviewer requested to… Read more »
Kedisha
Kedisha
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is being shy. I HATE the label and never use the word to describe myself to others, but when I am placed in a crowd of people I don’t know, I inevitably shrink. I sit (or stand) alone, my voice gets softer, people cannot hear me, I find myself with nothing to say and I sweat! I am a salesperson, so I make a living off of using a script to get people to like me quickly (and then BUY things from me), but I know there is much room to improve these skills professionally and to… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, At the moment, the weakness I’m working on is keeping a conversation going. I’ve always been an observer rather than a participant and social interaction with strangers is awkward for me. I’m getting better and I can reach out initially to almost anyone now. But once a conversation has started with someone new I can handily kill it in a number of ways. I was talking at a party a while back with a woman who asked what I do. She was making small talk and I took the question to heart and gave her a lengthy detailed… Read more »
Keet
Keet
3 years 8 months ago
My geographic location is often enough to get people at least somewhat curious about the life I’ve lived here in Alaska. The wilderness, the open spaces, the wildlife and so on, as well as experiences that are unique to this location. The easiest stories to tell are those that involve things most people would never experience, such as my working as a commercial fisherman. It was equal parts exhausting and exhilarating, with many incredible experiences in between. I brought up the topic of fishing when I engaged a girl at my building’s coffee shop/cafe and we bantered about work. I… Read more »
Lotte
Lotte
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, For me the biggest challenge of the conversation is knowing how to filter what I want to say to someone so that it stays engaging and I don’t end up losing them in unnecessary details. Starting the conversation is not a big deal. Ending could use a bit of tunning up, but the core issue for me is in keeping the conversation engaging. I find that I do better in writting where I can read and filter what I’m saying before I hit the send button. Somehow I have missed learning the social culture cues to keeping a… Read more »
John Neil
John Neil
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, I think you’ll love this case study in thin slicing (below) ** I recently returned from a conference in Las Vegas (New Media Expo). I have a funny and enlightening story from that event to share After attending several conferences like this (in many countries), I notice a pattern — you can tell ALMOST INSTANTLY whether the person you are talking to “gets it” or not. It’s uncanny. On the second afternoon, I was sitting and waiting for the keynote to begin. As usual I’m sitting near the center aisle, but not in the very last chair ON… Read more »
Marisa
Marisa
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest biggest weakness when it comes to social skills? Oh, man, that one is really apparent. In my job, I interact with a lot of nerdy teenagers; inside the classroom, and when I’m running a specific, planned extracurricular activity, we’ve all got a pre-fab social script that we rely on. But the goddamn hardest thing for me to do is to sit with the kids at lunch and just chat with them. I never know what the hell to say! What I *want* to do is find out who they (really) are, check in about how their experience at… Read more »
Cici
Cici
3 years 8 months ago

I often like to tell people the story about how I was living in France and learnkn the language. As I faltered with the language I one day tried to use a cognate for preservatives (like in food). Infortunately, preservatif en francais is condom. It was embarassing but always puts people at ease when it comes to talking about travel.

Eric
Eric
3 years 8 months ago
I can think of two of my biggest weaknesses for social situations. No. 1: I feel very awkward initiating contact with someone. If someone initiates contact with me I consider myself OK. One of my very few friends where I initiated contact with them was probably the best friend anyone could ever know. I did it, because I had a good opener of when she presented in the class I was in and asked her about that. But even after that, I still very self-conscious about what to say, how to act, and where to lead the conversation when I… Read more »
Willie
Willie
3 years 8 months ago
Whats up Ramit, I believe my biggest social weakness is approaching/engaging new people in a conversation. Its like I hit a wall, I get too shy or reserved. This even happens to me at work I find myself to be just listening into other coworkers convos when we are in a social setting. My story which I used on my roommate today which is probably the opposite of engaging ties directly into my weakness. The story bombed because she basically pitied me and said it was alil pathetic at the same time haha. She works in the music industry so… Read more »
Chris
Chris
3 years 8 months ago
Hi, Ramit. I think I suffer from the perfect storm of social weaknesses – introverted observer by nature; talker’s block (mind goes blank and don’t know what to say); overly passive in conversations and in action; and, when I do get talking, I’m either a bit too academic/monotone or a bit too sarcastic for many people’s tastes. I’ve been this way my entire life and it has severely hindered me in many situations. Moreover, I’m in graduate school and on my way to becoming a literature professor (and/or open my own writing school/tutoring program for high school kids). I’ve taught… Read more »
mary
mary
3 years 8 months ago
Hi there I stumbled upon you site randomly today in a very crazy way – was downloading free kindle books on blogging as everyone says i should write one and your blog was linked in. I very much enjoyed your writing style, video and am interested in contest. I’m probably not your usual person that would say that doesn’t have social skills but am trying to work out some bugs. My biggest thing is that I grew up being very shy and then need to speak in front of people now more and more about my job which people find… Read more »
Taylor
Taylor
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is “bridging the gap” between starting a conversation with a random stranger and turning that into some kind of connection. My social skills are pretty good when it comes to interacting with people I already know. The problem I have is in making new connections. I’ll talk to strangers, but struggle with taking the next step to build the relationship. About four months ago, I realized that this was one of the biggest barriers I had in regard to my social skills, so I started testing different tactics to “bridge the gap”. One particular approach I tested… Read more »
David Dodoo
David Dodoo
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, Many people lack self confidence in conversations, but i doubt many people experience getting mutinied in topics they bring up like I do. You see I am a very passionate person, and I love putting time and effort into the things that I do, but the real problem lies in the showcasing of what ever project or just general conversation. Usually the conversation will start out great, me and the stranger will exchange salutations, but things go south quickly, especially in the context of the opposite sex. I quickly begin to clamor, and lose whatever confidence I had entering… Read more »
Natacha
Natacha
3 years 8 months ago

Hello again,
This is my second comment because I have tested 3 stories on two friends and one stranger last night: 2 out of the 3 worked well! But after the laughs or the reactions, I noticed that people weren’t willing to spend more time discussing on those subjects and the stories only last 2 minutes. So even if 2 worked, maybe they are still not good because they didn’t lead to discussion, right?
Have a nice day!
Natcha

Leah Cutter
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest social weakness is that I’m afraid to ask questions–afraid that I’ll look stupid if I do. I became aware of this several years ago, so have been training myself to ask more questions when I meet someone. It’s still a conscious decision, though, not something that comes naturally.

I will work on a story to tell people at work and report back.

David
David
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, thanks for the hacks and great content. I wanted to comment on a social skills weakness that I have at the office. I am a busy professional and I noticed that at various times when I’m stressed or mentally exhausted or moving too quickly in an effort to knock out multiple projects, I may lose my ability to stay animated, to keep command of intonation and my talking speed when dealing with others… My weakness is I go ‘flat’. I’ve noticed, on a few occasions, I might regress to a monotone in discussions with colleagues or staff or… Read more »
Alicia
Alicia
3 years 8 months ago
Wow, a lot of great stories here! Thanks Ramit for talking about social skills. I think people who read your blog are often successful to an extent that they don’t really need to worry about making more money per se (knock wood) but there are other ways to make life “rich” eg by improving your social network; even when you don’t need a “network” for money purposes, you need one for other reasons. I look forward to reading more on your blog about social skills, productivity and time management. One of my biggest problems socially is actually seguing from “hey… Read more »
Mike
Mike
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness: sticking too closely with people I know. In big group settings, I tend to only socialize or interact with the people I know directly–and rely on them to help me make new contacts. Once I get going, I can actually carry a conversation, tell a good story, make someone laugh–but, when I’m asked to go to mixers for work, fear keeps me close to who I know. I am often 20-30 years younger than the people I am trying to engage–so the opening lines I have tried experimenting with, either serious or jokey (mostly revolving around what they… Read more »
Sean
Sean
3 years 8 months ago
I think it’s also worth noting that a very simple technique for amplifying your key points, just as in music, is to pause or slow down right before or during your big ideas. This rhythmic change up helps to punctuate and cue your listener into the hierarchy of your messaging. Ramit, you do this naturally as do most politicians but for someone who hasn’t yet felt the emphasis it can bring to your conversations, it really is pretty profound as to how simple yet effective this tactic can be. For example, just think about how this principle functions within music.… Read more »
d pham
d pham
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest social skill problem is that I don’t know what to say sometimes. Other times, I get so nervous that words just spit out of my mouth without going through the brain filter. I would say the wrong word, or use the wrong grammar and end up looking dumber than I am. And that would make me want to clam up even more to avoid future embarrassment. It’s really hard to make new friends that way.

TheRealRealist
TheRealRealist
3 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, I can’t thank you enough for this video. I’m so excited to try out all of the tips you’ve provided in the next mingling activity I’m thrown into. I think that my biggest issue with being in a social setting is I have a deep-seated notion in my head that other people would be so bothered if I tried talking to them. I think it might be a self confidence issue; however, the thing that I don’t understand is that I’m actually quite happy with myself (not depressed or anything) and I’m great at personal communication once a… Read more »
Malinalli
Malinalli
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit I believe my most terrible weakness when it comes to social skills, is that at times, it seems my thoughts become perfectly visible to everyone and anyone that I’m talking to. People have told me this, some people actually say it’s a good thing, since they trust that they’ll always be able to know if I’m not saying what is really on my mind. However I feel this has been a great great disadvantage for me at times. I’m sure people that I’ve worked with, could tell I very much disliked them, worse even my clients! I know… Read more »
Nadia Chaudhry
3 years 8 months ago
Alright Ramit, I’ve had are really busy day outside the house and wasn’t able to stop and do this until now. I actually keep a notebook of my social encounters (I actually titled it “Shedding Light to My Social Life” with an oath I signed and everything…). Before an event, I write down something that I want to test and when I come back I assess it, keeping the record in the journal. I hope you appreciate that systematic assessment. My biggest weakness when it comes to social skill is knowing how to lighten the mood when I want to.… Read more »
Nadia Chaudhry
3 years 8 months ago

Next test I’ll try -> Storytelling. THANKS!

Chris
Chris
3 years 8 months ago
In social situations, I have a tendency to try to ‘stretch’ a story beyond its application to the situation. There might be conversation about cars, and before I check my self, I’ve launched into a story of kiddie pedal cars from my childhood. Totally off the thread of the conversation. Usually, it comes from either not paying attention closely enough, or, from letting my anxiety prevail, and speaking from my feelings about the situation, instead of the actual situation I am in. One saving tactic I have actually used is to end the story by acknowledging it was a stretch,… Read more »
Anna
Anna
3 years 8 months ago

Very useful information, Ramit! My weakness? I tend to be shy and insecure.
I look forward to learning about your media training sources as this project evolves.

Brent
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I don’t know how to end conversations without being awkward and even bigger than that I don’t know how to events and because of that am usually among the last people to leave even hours after I’ve thought “okay, I’ve spent all my social energy. I’m ready to go.” I like the methods you’ve pointed out above, especially the blunt one. I usually find myself looking for an excuse to leave the conversation, but end up with nothing. In particular I go to my local dog park fairly often and there are about 20-30 people… Read more »
Ling
Ling
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, I told one story about my recent trip about the 16 hour trip I took to get to an island. The whole trip took 2 plane trips, 1 bus ride, 2 boat rides and 1 motorcycle ride and a crazy trek up & down a hill. It was interesting to me and the first time I told it, it was fresh in my memory so I was really animated. But I realised after the 3rd telling, I started to rush through the story. I also started to think that it was not such a great story after all..nothing… Read more »
Fidel Cashflow
Fidel Cashflow
3 years 8 months ago
It’s hard for me to talk to people at a party but even if I get past that part I’m horrible at carrying a conversation after the small talk. After I’m done faking calls to my imaginary girlfriend and rereading emails from twitter notifications (freakin sad now that i’m actually thinking about what i did -__-), I finally muster the courage to approach someone. After introduction and ‘what do you do’ I tend to BS with the typical ‘wow that’s awesome…how do you like it? how did you get into it BLAH BLAH BLAH.’ During the conversation I can’t help… Read more »
Jessica H.
Jessica H.
3 years 8 months ago
– My biggest weakness is three things I over-think everything and begin to ramble while telling a story or I don’t give enough information and it seems doesn’t come across as genuine. Two: I have a difficult time opening up to people. Three: I have an invisible script that was definitely passed down to me from my mom: I don’t like people. -So I tried a couple of stories the most prevalent is when I told my mom about my accidental gum swallowing on the bus on the way home. She couldn’t stop laughing. Literally brought her to tears. I… Read more »
Josh
Josh
3 years 8 months ago
I’ve told this story a bunch, and I want to test some tweaks to it. This story comes up when I’m talking about travel stories. I went backpacking in central Europe after finishing classes I took abroad in Spain. Near the end of my trip, I went to Como, Italy and met an awesome girl from Quebec. We split ways a few days later, knowing that we’d both be in Italy for another week. My last city was Venice, and after arriving I went to an internet cafe. I couldn’t believe that she was sitting right next to me in… Read more »
Philippe Lewis
3 years 8 months ago
Awesome post by Ramit! Conversations is a science, but it’s also an art. Getting the details down, knowing techniques, approaches, etc. is is all awesome stuff. But once you’ve got all that under your belt (or in your brain), the real work of practicing and turning it into an art really starts. You see, it’s like learning to play an instrument: knowing the theory and knowing how to play the notes you see on sheet music is one thing, but it’s another to play something that sounds GOOD. Now imagine what it must take to play something that sounds AMAZING… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest social weakness is that I have a hard time stopping conversations. Starting them is never a problem. Establishing rapport isn’t a problem. I’m that person that only gets to one or two people at a party because I can’t stop the conversation. I start to get irritated with myself because I want to mingle, but I get stuck – I’ll try to politely bow out and then find that I revert to …”ok, wow, I REALLY need to use the bathroom, will you excuse me for a minute?” Blech! I want to improve this and learn to work… Read more »
Ken
Ken
3 years 8 months ago

This social skills stuff has been bugging me for years since I was young, I am aware and tried to improve but the results of improvement was pretty awful considering the number of years I have been trying to change. Eye contact,body language,intonation,volume,awkward pauses,clarity of speech,fluency and etc. has been bugging me. It worries me as I will be entering the working society soon. Cheers.

Maxwell Mago
Maxwell Mago
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is that i tend to give too much when explaining issues or concepts, meetings, interviews, etc. Once i was manning our other company’s exhibition stand and responsible for explaining company products to all commercial visitors. Later, my boss commented that my ‘lecturers’ were too long and aggressive, and i seem to agree with him. When i talk i can’t read the reaction of my listeners for proper feedback to control me, so end up feeling that they haven’t understood me enough. This prompts me to want to continue explaining and even raising my voice at times. At… Read more »
julia
julia
3 years 8 months ago

Getting conversations off the ground is still a big one for me. I’m okay with stories, now that I’ve learned to be concise and stay focused on others in the conversation.

I know it’s a confidence issue to a large extent. At work or social functions where I perceive others to be more at ease than I am, I have a hard time. But at my girlfriend’s work events, where a lot of people seem to be socially awkward, (giant software company) I step into the social facilitator role.

Alex
Alex
3 years 8 months ago
I have no trouble or anxiety starting conversations and usually have relevant and moderately interesting stories. I run into trouble a couple ways though: 1) Using the wrong level of formality. Usually presuming a closer and less formal relationship than is appropriate. I’ll notice it, reel it in, but within five minutes I’m back in the same situation. I have a lot easier time being casual so I think it’s just my natural inclination. 2) Adding details that aren’t important, and sometimes aren’t appropriate. I will know I’m doing it as I’m doing it, and still it happens. Often they… Read more »
Maria
Maria
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest Social Weakness: Creating meaningful professional connections beyond a light-hearted social conversation. More specifically, asking the right questions to engage the other person and learn more about their true interests and work. I have experience in the art of small talk (and in fact even struck up a conversation with a new co-worker at our recent holiday party on the dance floor during “Gangnam Style”…I think that takes talent), but when it comes to converting these acquaintances into someone who could be a member of my network, I have struggled. Maybe step 1 is meeting professionals not on the dance… Read more »
C
C
3 years 8 months ago
Biggest weakness: I tend to speak very quickly when I am nervous, and while I notice this I have a lot of trouble slowing down. When I do slow down I notice that my voice begins to sound shaky, so that affects how confident I sound. This does go away if I have the chance to practice what I say beforehand (i.e. presentations, speeches, etc.) but when it pops up during casual conversation it’s a lot more difficult to control. It tends to happen when I address more than one person, so I definitely need help learning how to speak… Read more »
Matt E.
3 years 8 months ago
I clicked through to the landing page for the video and left a comment about my weakness; based on the hyper-linked words, I assumed that was the way to win the training. As for the to-dos at the end of this post, I was chatting with someone about how people can sometimes seem so different. I thought it was a great time to tell the story about the “crazy bomber” that was in study hall during my high-school Russian class. As the story goes, he always seemed normal enough; never really said anything crazy and always acted normal and put… Read more »
Julien
Julien
3 years 8 months ago
Knowing what to say is my biggest weakness. I usually get stuck past the typical small talk of what do you do, how do you know so and so etc. Recently though I’ve started getting better. I now prepare for my social meetings just like I do with my professional meetings. I’ll have a quick brainstorm the night before or on the way about different topics I could bring up. Whether it’s an old friend I haven’t seen in a while or someone I’ve met recently I now have an arsenal of topics before every social engagement. It’s taking less… Read more »
Henri Kestiö
Henri Kestiö
3 years 8 months ago
I read this and my first thought “I don’t know any good stories!”. When I really started thinking about it, I realized I have quite alot of stuff! I guess I used to think that connecting with people just happens “magically”. Now I realize that I’ve always used stories when there has been a connection with people I’ve met. When there hasn’t been a connection (even though I really wanted it), it was because I couldn’t come up with anything! Man I could’ve used the story toolbox A LOT! Today I told my friend at work how my girlfriend was… Read more »
Harry
Harry
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I am afraid to talk to strangers really. It isn’t horrific social anxiety or anything, I am just very hesitant to approach people I do not know to start a conversation. It doesn’t matter whether they are men or women, I always seem to come up with excuses to not to talk to people. However I usually don’t have a problem talking to strangers, men or women, if they approach me first. All the hesitation disappears as long as I don’t have to go and make the first move. One of the consequences of my… Read more »
Olivia
Olivia
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Thanks for another awesome and thought-provoking post. My biggest weaknesses: 1. Getting stuck in the middle of a conversation with nowhere to go. Example: First week of my new job, out for lunch with my new team, talking to my boss. It gets to a discussion about her kids, and where she was from originally (a place I have never been). And after that, what to say next? Ended with awkward silence. Should I have asked about work stuff? Or non-work stuff? Or what? Or made an observation or a comment / compliment. 2. Worrying about what to… Read more »
Melissa H.
Melissa H.
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, Ufff…where to start! I think my biggest weakness is me always trying to be the funny person in the room. Honestly, I find myself pretty funny and by looking at people’s reactions, I think I have that one in the pocket. But the thing is that people always refer to me as the “funny girl”, so I kind of feel the need to prove that I am indeed funny and that those people that referred to me as the “funny girl” weren’t wrong for having that opinion of me. (Ok, I’m on my rambling mode). Anyway, I find… Read more »
Leslie
3 years 8 months ago

I used a story about the “pixie stick challenge”, a challenge we used to do at my old job where people would chug a can of coke and down a large pixie stick to see who could break the record of 28 seconds. I told the story to my husband, and even though he had heard me talk about it in the past, he still seemed somewhat interested in hearing about it again. I’ll have to try it on a stranger next!

Matt T
Matt T
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is lacking the confidence to lead the discussion. I often feel that anything I say needs to be relevant to the current discussion because I am not good at quick transitions to a new topic/story. I also love the idea of a story toolbox. I often feel that I am not memorable enough. Too many of my stories have been re-tellings of my friends’ escapades. I know one of the last ways to be memorable to someone is to talk about your interesting friends instead of being interesting yourself. Even if you’re BFFs with Derek Jeter you’re… Read more »
Amanda Wuenschel
Amanda Wuenschel
3 years 8 months ago
Challenge accepted! My story is fairly short, but it will always get a response: Over the past year, I’ve lost about 70 pounds just by working out and eating better–eating less. I feel fantastic and have gained a lot of confidence in the process. The test: As I was working, one of my regulars came up to the counter to look at our bakery case. She was just waiting for a friend, so we started chatting about the sweets, and she mentioned that she wasn’t worried about calories because she worked out. Laughing, I joked, “I work out so I… Read more »
Lauren K.
Lauren K.
3 years 8 months ago
I have one story that I tell frequently about my travels abroad. While unexpectedly spending a night in a Scottish airport I stopped by one of the shops to pick up Scotch as a gift. It was right around when they enacted the new liquid restrictions for carry-ons, so the shop owner made sure I still had my checked bags. I explained that I was sleeping in the airport and and his response was “Maybe you should buy a bigger bottle.” Over time I’ve practiced piecing together several parts of the story in a concise way, with set up for… Read more »
Charles
Charles
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, You know those really nerdy, awkward Asian kids in highschool? Big thick glasses, always hiding behind books? Yeah, that used to be me. Like you, I used to be a 125 pound monster, a destroyer of conversations and social norms. So over the years I’ve had to work really hard to becoming socially adept. Happily, I have a much better command of social communication skills now (Toastmasters helped a lot) but like any field, competency is easy, but mastery is hard. For me my biggest weakness is not testing enough. Now that I am competent, I find it… Read more »
Emily
Emily
3 years 8 months ago
I thought about the weakness question for a while, and I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that my social skills almost directly correlate with my mood. If I’m in a good mood no problem, but if I’m in a bad mood I know I get snappish and sullen, and I’m not a good enough actress to fake wanting to mingle with other people even when the situation might demand it… … And as I wrote that, I realized what blog I’m currently commenting on and that I should obviously set up microtests to see what types of things… Read more »
Martin
Martin
3 years 8 months ago
Another recovering alcoholic story for you right here. Only in this one, I’m the alcoholic. Since a very young age I relied on alcohol to carry me through social events. If there wasn’t alcohol involved I used to opt out of going anywhere with too many people. If people were drinking I know that all I had to do was drink my nerves away, and unlock (what I though were) my social skills. WIthout the alcohol I was crippled, and I had no clue how people just chatted with each other effortlessly. I’m 30 years old today and I’m happy… Read more »
Darrin
Darrin
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenge is breaking the ice with people and getting to the point where they are actively engaged in communicating with me. Although I’m naturally introverted, I’ve learned enough about social skills to get solid conversations going, but generally only after I’ve hit the point that they are 100% on board. In practice, this means that with people who go up to me, introduce themselves, make a comment, ask a question, etc. I can quickly follow up and get a fun back-and-forth going that can go on indefinitely. But going up to people and getting past that inflection point… Read more »
Patrick Guess
Patrick Guess
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t maintain eye contact! After watching your video I realize that by not watching the reaction of my listener that I have no way of testing the effectiveness of my stories/points/ramblings. I’m comfortable talking to new people, initiating and maintaining conversation, and have even been known to make a graceful exit; but by missing this fundamental skill, I don’t know if it’s doing any good. Thanks!

Stephen
Stephen
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is being too long-winded when trying to tell a story. This can make it seem like the story lacks credibility and conviction and is a poor social trigger. I used to find it especially difficult to accurately depict a story to others when they’ve been drinking and I haven’t. With all eyes on me, I often found myself rambling. This is something I did for quite a while, but I’ve been working on refining my stories with Dream Job techniques, testing responses and I’m getting out of that habit. When my friends want to share this particular… Read more »
Sheonna Harris
3 years 8 months ago
I’m not sure how to follow up with my connections. I can strike up a conversation with people, meet someone while I’m out (ie. bar, class, work, social function), have a great conversation and even exchange phone numbers; however I don’t know how to continue that conversation past the initial meeting. Problem is outside of that predetermined context (we both wanted a drink, or want to learn about a particular subject) I’m not sure how to carry on a relationship with this individual. I’ve figured the next step is to have a great phone conversation with them, however I find… Read more »
JB
JB
3 years 8 months ago

Told the story of my 1-day snowboard trip to a colleague, inclusding two 9+ hr bus drives and only 5 hrs of boarding while being awake roundabout 50 hours total.
He was interested but I didnt really have the feeling he hung on my lips or something. Maybe I should have chosen a funny failure story like in Ramits example.

Jason
Jason
3 years 8 months ago

My biggest social weakness is that my mind goes blank in the middle of conversation. I can go up and talk to anyone about work and social issues. But when the conversation shifts to talking about myself, personal experiences and small talk, I just go blank. It is the worst thing when in some circles I come across very impressive only to come across as a complete zero in others.

Josh
3 years 8 months ago
I have a story I sometimes tell to demonstrate just how bad I can be at social situations. I have trouble actually caring about the small talk details and it comes across too often. In business school, I was in an interview for a job I thought I really wanted–the whole reason I went to b-school. There were two interviewers, the VP and another manager. I had to convince them that I was a good fit for project management coming from information sales. As the interview starts, the VP opens small talk and we both mention we’re from New York.… Read more »
Alex Andreev
Alex Andreev
3 years 8 months ago

Ramit:

My biggest social skills challenge would have to be my monotone, lulling voice. Even when I’m focusing on being expressive and passionate, videos of me reveal that I’m at like 20% the intensity you observe from a colorful speaker.

PP
PP
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest challenges in social interactions are my limited range of facial expression and too much eye contact – yes, you heard that right. On being told by my parents to make eye contact with people I am speaking to, I, from a young age started walking up to people staring them right in the eyes. Combine that with an expressionless face and you can imagine the effect …. weird. Needless to say, my friends have told me that I come across as cold and judging, even arrogant. I noticed that this was having a real effect on my performance… Read more »
Celeste
Celeste
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit – great video! My biggest weakness in social settings is that I’m hyper self conscious about the way I’m being perceived. The minute I’m in large social settings, my mind begins to race with all the ways I am falling short in the setting. I start to stress out about the way I look, what I’m saying, what I’m not saying, etc and I have physiological reactions (my heart starts racing, I start perspiring) which doesn’t help lower my level of self consciousness. I know I shouldn’t compare myself or define my self worth with what other’s think… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 8 months ago
I’d be EXCELLENT for this training because I’d be the one person to get the MOST out of this. As a recovering shy nerd, my biggest weakness growing up was not having the confidence to start conversations with people. I felt as if I’d be intruding their lives. As you can imagine, this made my dating, social and professional life suffer. How can you learn all these social tweaks if you can’t even bring yourself to have conversations? It drove me CRAZY. I knew I had to turn my life around and started actively learning all I could to get… Read more »
Papi
Papi
3 years 8 months ago
Thank you Ramit, I had been looking forward to this. Finding words (at all, never mind the optimal ones) is a struggle for me. I either go blank, or think too much and don’t speak at all. This makes it hard to engage and express myself correctly. It is troublesome in the moment but also hinders the development of relationships over time. Here follows a delightfully embarrassing example: While at a party, invited by my almost but not quite there yet boyfriend, I was chatting to some of his mates and trying to avoid the “hows things with X” question,… Read more »
Lori
Lori
3 years 8 months ago
I don’t know how to start a conversation. I sort of treat them like double dutch and either hijack an existing conversation or start in the middle and make the other person catch up, which doesn’t go over well with most people. Once, I’ve started the convo, I tend to jump around in topics and refer to things 3 subject changes ago without notice and for some of my similar minded friends it’s an interesting game, for others, over shorter periods it’s perhaps intriguing but for everyone else, you can see the distress and the “checking out” of the conversation… Read more »
Casey McCarty
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is my fear of silence. I hate that awkward lull, particularly if the person with whom I’m speaking is passive and looking to me to make the next statement. Invariably I’ll chime in with whatever randomness pops into my head next just to stop the silence. That’s how the “oh shit, I should’ve said __ or asked about ___” in the car ride home 30 min later pile up. Because instead of pulling out clever things to say, I was like “crap! silence! Cats?” (I don’t actually talk about cats, but sometimes I think I couldn’t do… Read more »
Gabriela Ruiz
Gabriela Ruiz
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit! Great post, it had many tips that I’ll start using this week during some VIP natural networking meetings. Usually it takes a while for me to feel comfortable enough within a conversation to loosen up and just be myself. The story that I usually use is that I worked at Walt Disney World. People are just instantly interested on knowing about the experience and how I managed to have that opportunity. Even though several other of my friends participated on the program it seems like we had a very different experience. The way I tell the story usually… Read more »
Lindi
3 years 8 months ago
My social skills take an epic bungee jump depending on my mood and inclination to actually attempt to be charming. When I’m in a good mood, things are pretty great. I am able to fully engage with people and socialize comfortably. But I do find that when I am tired, hungry, or just plain down right annoyed, I will let conversations totally stall out in the middle of the flow. It’s when I don’t take command of the conversation by asking another question or segwaying into the appropriate story and just awkward silences ensue. For me, through reading this it’s… Read more »
Chloe G.
Chloe G.
3 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this great post! I have a few stories in my Story Toolbox from Dream Job, but I am excited to think of new ones that can be used in more casual social situations (rather than in interviews). I was actually rehearsing them in the shower today 🙂 My biggest social weakness is not being able to translate what’s going on in my head into words. This has been a problem since I was very young. When I’m in a group of people––even close friends––I will listen to what they are saying and will have lots of thoughts about… Read more »
Candace
Candace
3 years 8 months ago

Usually on Monday work days the standard question is how was your weekend? And normally most people’s response would be ‘good’ and so would mine but this time I tested a story of my weekend telling people I went bird watching and trying raw oysters for the first time at Point Reyes. It was interesting enough that other coworkers participated in my story and added their experiences and suggestions. The result was way better than the standard boring ‘good’ response.

Tyler
Tyler
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that socializing is usually emotionally draining for me. I know the reason, it’s because I’m an introvert and I’ve always been like this. It’s something I need to overcome, at least in the most critical, high reward areas. The problem is the worst when entering a new environment, like arriving at a new training program with lots of other fresh faces. I find myself trying to escape social situations to be by myself rather than meeting new people. I end up not making friends and being excluded from the group, not because I don’t belong in… Read more »
Jimmy
Jimmy
3 years 8 months ago

Being the chubby guy, I feel uneasy just going up to someone and starting a conversation. I feel like they are thinking “Oh great, now I have to talk to him”. It is like I am not worthy. I then panic and my inner voice starts going crazy about how this is dumb, I should just leave, this never works etc. This is my biggest weakness when it comes to social skills.

Sonia
Sonia
3 years 8 months ago
You know Jimmy, not every woman (or man) likes dating an asparagus. And most people enjoy being others for who they are (and how they make them feel), not what they look like. Yes, judgemental people exist everywhere. I’ve met a few. Having said that, you have to feel yourself that you are worthy – no matter your size, shape, hair or skin colour, accent and so on. You have just as much right to start a conversation as anybody else. To me, it feels like a visible-invisible script that needs to be shredded, burned, and the ashes spread in… Read more »
Peter L
Peter L
3 years 8 months ago
Some of the commenters have mentioned how they really enjoy connecting with people. I’m the opposite – my challenge in social situations is pushing myself to be interested in folks long enough to invest in conversation. My concerns run both ways – that the person will have nothing interesting to share with me or, in other cases, that the person will not be interested in what i can share. I don’t want to fake interest or, other times, even take a chance, so I stand back. I’ve made improvements in this area a priority for myself this year, so your… Read more »
Kristina Thomas
3 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, This video really got my attention. I wanted to enter into the contest. My problem: starting the conversation, lying, and running away. I’m in the entertainment business and I get invited to networking events. When I’m invited to networking events and do not no one there, I usually stay for 15 minutes. I literally time myself, keep looking at my watch and run for the door. Seriously, I fast walk to the door, and I have no idea why. Although, if I know one person there, I usually stick with them and depend on them to introduce me… Read more »
James
James
3 years 8 months ago
One of the things I think I struggle with is what to do with attention once I have it. I’m a pretty natural communicator, so starting conversations and keeping them going are pretty natural for me. Where I think I really fall apart is in groups. I get the groups attention and tell a great story. People are in stitches. But I struggle with letting it go. If there’s any silence after the laugh, I jump right back in. Pretty soon I’m that guy who dominates the conversation. The worst part is actually FEELING like a jackass WHILE I’m being… Read more »
Patty
Patty
3 years 8 months ago
OK, I thought I would give this test a REAL test. Last night, I had to attend a wake of a gentleman who has unfortunately passed but I did not know well. This gentleman had nine children, several grandchildren, & great-grandchildren. I knew 2 of the children and only “knew of” the rest. In addition, several other relatives and friends of the departed were there to pay their respects. So, making small talk was going to be quite the challenge here. While this may seem to be an unfair test for Ramit’s methods, you never know when there will be… Read more »
Jason
Jason
3 years 8 months ago
Not my story but it comes up from time to time in conversations with older acquaintances who admire my decision to return to school. They say things like”I’m too old to go back to school.” I say “It’s never too late,” then I hit them with this news story about this 80-something-year-old who’s earned about 23 bachelor’s degrees and 9 master’s degrees and is still going for more. And it’s not because he’s a super genius or anything, he’s just curious and likes the process. They get this look like they’re considering it, and that makes me feel all warm… Read more »
Brian V.
Brian V.
3 years 8 months ago
Ramit, First off, thanks for the video! I think that my biggest weakness when it comes to social situations is reading and understanding body language. Recently, at an out-of-town company meet-up where multiple people from different levels and different locations of the company got together for a conference, I was chatting with an upper-level manager during a break. We were mostly making small talk, discussing things like what locations we had worked at and what we were working on now. Looking back, I SHOULD HAVE noticed two things that he was communicating to me with his body language: (1) He… Read more »
Lillian
Lillian
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is wanting to come across intellectually, using the right scripts, the right words. So, I can sound like I know what I’m talking about and master the jargon of my own profession. I am a very passionate and charismatic person when it comes to spiritual topics, religion, family, teenagers, and pets, and have experienced that moment in a conversation where there is a deep sense of enlightment. When it comes to my profession, I’ve been told I don’t seem like an accountant. the feeling that I’m not cut out to be an accountant creeps up on me.… Read more »
Weakeyecontact
Weakeyecontact
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness when it comes to social skill is eye contact. I always had the habit of looking down at the floor since I was a kid, due to always getting myself into mischief and concluding with parent scolding at me, thus eyes looking at the floor. As I got older I forced myself to make more eye contact which would last 1 second of eye contact and then my eyes would wonder off at people around us, speaker shoulders, and/or following speaker hand gestures. After 10-15 seconds of wondering off, again I would make 1 second eye contact,… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 8 months ago
Have now watched the video. I would say my biggest social weakness is that if I don’t like someone I tend not to want to make small talk or a social connection. This is fine in a non business environment but not great with clients. Some very senior people I know are not very likeable and I think my inanbility to be with them as I am with most others doesn’t help my carrer. Re testing a story, I did today. Meet someone for lunch today to find out about what their job entails, as I’m considering switching roles. I… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
3 years 8 months ago
My biggest weakness is that I sometimes get very nervous and I do not know why. I am somewhat social and I do not have any problem making friends. However, when I have to speak to someone older than me, I can get nervous. In addition to that, being graded like in a presentation or having to speak in my second language can be stressful for me. know that all the factors that cause stress will combine in my workplace in the future and I am determined to overcome them. I am 19 and I do not know if it… Read more »
Kristy
Kristy
3 years 8 months ago
I listened to this yesterday, and then did a couple of tests I found I was listening differently, and during the conversation I changed what I was going to say (scripted stories or responses) a couple of times to ask more interesting questions of my conversation partner. I realized I would have plowed through this chat with my own stories, and didn’t want to walk away with the “we’ve been chatting for 5+ minutes, but I still know nothing about you” problem. This is someone I’ve seen a few times, so it will be nice to run into them on… Read more »
Jesús
Jesús
3 years 8 months ago

It’s too cold in Madrid today. When I arrived to my desk this morning I said to my work mates: “I met a polar bear downstairs right now, he asked me if he can come in to the building because is too cold outside, and I answered that it depends on how much he eats…” everyone look at me with poker face, then laughing and start to follow and my weird history. nice!

Kristy
Kristy
3 years 8 months ago
Aha – and I’ve missed the assignment response. My biggest social weakness a lacking desire to fake my way through a conversation. If I’m not engaged, I am checked out or moving on. I’m okay with cutting my losses conversationally, but really (really) think I should learn to navigate this with more grace. I don’t think I’m terrible or abrasive to interact with in this situation, but do think this would be a stellar skill to have – particularly in the career spectrum. Otherwise, I’m crap with names unless I am able to tie a person to a story or… Read more »
Gaurav
Gaurav
3 years 8 months ago
I think my biggest weakness is sustaining or steering the conversation, this is more difficult especially in groups. After the initial introduction/s, one of the socially expert person cleverly manages to steer the conversation to the topic of his liking (say politics, market) and then he/she has a lot to talk about that. Even if I try to change the topic he or she will immediately bring the conversation to something where he has a lot to talk about. After a while, I simply withdraw and if I am in a group, even other people seem disinterested. As a result,… Read more »
Andy H